Iran's electoral watchdog, the Guardian Council, says has seen no signs
of fraud in 10 days of investigations, rejecting claims by three
defeated presidential candidates of vote rigging. At the same time, a
hardline cleric told Friday's prayer gathering in Tehran that "rioters"
should be executed.
The Guardian Council said Friday that it
has found no significant violations after 10 days of investigating the
disputed June 12 presidential election. All three defeated candidates
have protested the results, charging electoral fraud.
Council's spokesman, Abbas-ali Kadkhodaie, told the Iranian news agency
(IRNA), that it was one of the cleanest elections the country has ever
had and he said there was no fraud in the election.
opposition leader and defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein
Mousavi, however, reiterated on his Web site that "a major rigging has
occurred," adding that he was "ready to prove that those behind the
rigging are responsible for [the recent] bloodshed."
government has officially admitted there have been at least 17 deaths
from post-election unrest, but eyewitness reports suggest that there
were many more.
Unconfirmed reports say thousands of Iranians
have visited Tehran's main cemetery in the past 24 hours to mourn the
victims of the violence.
Elsewhere, at the Friday prayer sermon
at Tehran University, hardline cleric Ahmed Khatami urged Iran's
judiciary to "punish key rioters ruthlessly and savagely."
he insisted, should be considered people who wage war against God. Such
individuals, he said, should be punished by death.
demanded that the government impose draconian measures on foreign
journalists, complaining that "they wander around the country with
satellite phones, giving information to incite demonstrations."
President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad was shown on state TV describing his
sadness at recent violence in Tehran's Haft e Tir Square during an
Al-Arabiya TV continued to report a split
within the regime, noting that former President Akbar Hashemi
Rafsandjani, has come under increasing pressure to declare his loyalty
to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Iran analyst Mehrdad
Khonsari of the London-based Center for Arab and Iranian Studies,
thinks that the popular opposition to the regime will continue, albeit
in new ways:
"I don't think that the demonstrations have died
down. You have to put things into perspective," said Khonsari. "Even at
the time of the  Islamic Revolution, the process began and lasted
for about two years before it reached its point of culmination. I don't
think that the demonstrators have thrown in the towel, just yet, but
the point is that they are adjusting their tactics and trying not to
waste their resources … I think that the polarization which has taken
place is a very deep one and the divisions and the stubbornness of the
regime in trying to ram its decisions down people's throats is not
something that is just going to fade away. We will see it re-emerging
in a different way in coming days."
Mr. Mousavi has vowed to
resist pressure to end his challenge of the June 12 election results
but he also urged supporters to continue protests in a way that will
not create tension.