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Iran Frees Thousands of Poor Prisoners

Iran says its largest charity organization is bailing out 21,000 prisoners for the Eid al-Fitr holiday.

The gesture was announced Tuesday as the country marked the end of the holy month of Ramadan with Eid celebrations and family gatherings.

State television says the prisoners had been jailed for monetary troubles, such as unpaid debts or blood money. It says the Imam Khomeini Relief Foundation bailed them out in an attempt to help their families regain financial stability.

Another set of prisoners have dominated the news in recent months - Iranians jailed for protesting President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad's re-election.

On Sunday, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blamed Western media for inciting the political turmoil, saying they are trying to "poison" Iran's atmosphere.

Speaking in Tehran Sunday, Khamenei warned Iranian media not to publicize foreign allegations against the government.

Continuing unrest over the the president's re-election in June has exposed political tensions within Iran's ruling elite.

On Friday, tens of thousands of government critics defied warnings and held their first major protest in two months.