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UN Experts Seek Permission to Visit Iran

Six United Nations experts are seeking permission from the Iranian government to allow them to visit the country and independently assess conditions there, in light of post-election unrest.

The human rights experts' issued a joint-statement (made public Wednesday) expressing grave concern about reports of mass arrests and the use of excessive force by police since last month's disputed presidential election.

The statement calls for Tehran to accept outstanding requests to travel to Iran. It adds that Tehran should honor its standing invitation to U.N. experts to conduct official visits.

Iranian police have detained more than 1,000 political activists, journalists, and others who authorities say were linked to post-election demonstrations. Officials say most of them have been released.

The experts seeking permission to visit are independent investigators who focus on arbitrary detention and executions, forced disappearances, punishment and the defense of human rights.

On Tuesday, defeated reformist presidential candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mahdi Karroubi joined former President Mohammad Khatami in calling for the release of all protesters detained in the demonstrations.

Also Tuesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared a new era for the country, claiming that the election was the freest in the world -- despite fraud allegations and mass protests against the results.

Mr. Ahmadinejad made the comments in his first national speech since Iran's supreme leader declared last month's election results were valid.