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Iranian Court Sentences Prominent Reformist to 6 Years in Jail


Authorities charged Abdollah Ramezanzadeh with acting against Iran's national security

An Iranian court has sentenced a former government spokesman to six years in jail for involvement in post-election protests against Iran's conservative government.

Abdollah Ramezanzadeh, a prominent reformist, had been charged by the Revolutionary court with acting against Iran's national security. Iranian media did not say when his sentence was issued.

Ramezanzadeh was a government spokesman under Iran's reformist former President Mohammad Khatami, who served from 1997 to 2005.

The former spokesman was among scores of senior reformists detained and put on trial on charges of fomenting unrest after June's disputed presidential election.

Iran's opposition accuses President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of rigging the vote to win re-election, a charge the government denies.

On Wednesday, the U.S. State Department said "Iran is increasingly showing itself to be a police state" in its treatment of opposition protesters.

State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters that Iran is using its security forces to try to "stamp out" the "aspirations of the Iranian people."

Iranian opposition groups say security forces clashed Wednesday with reformist supporters of a late dissident cleric in central Iran. They say the fighting erupted during memorials for Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri in his birthplace Najafabad and in nearby Isfahan.

Ayatollah Montazeri died Sunday in Qom at the age of 87. He was considered a spiritual patron of Iran's reformist movement and a strong critic of the nation's conservative clerical establishment.

Iranian police official Esmail Ahmedi-Moghadam warned that police will act to stop "illegal activities" by opposition groups.

In an interview broadcast Wednesday, President Ahmadinejad told Britain's Channel 4 News that "the law prevails" in Iran and must be respected during protests. He also said Iran's people are united and determined to protect their rights, interests and independence.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.