Khamenei orders Iran vote probe

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has told the top election supervisory body to examine defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi’s complaints, state television said on Monday.

Mousavi lodged a formal protest with the Guardians Council, calling for it to annul the result of Friday’s presidential election which he lost to hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, complaining of vote-rigging.

“The Guardians Council has been advised to precisely examine the letter,” state television quoted Khamenei as telling Mousavi during a meeting on Sunday.

A spokesperson for the council, quoted by ISNA news agency, said the 12-member body would meet on Tuesday with Mousavi to discuss the complaint.

“The results of the presidential election were sent today by the Ministry of Interior and we will examine them.

“Tomorrow the council will hold a meeting with these people [Mousavi and candidate Mohsen Rezai] to hear their views and we will inform them the way we work,” the spokesperson said.

“The final decision will be given within the statutory deadline.”

Khamenei also told Mousavi to pursue his complaints over the election through legal means and settle the issue calmly, the television said.

“In previous rounds some people followed matters through the Guardians Council as it is the legal reference body in these issues and such matters should naturally be pursued legally in this round,” Iran’s spiritual guide told Mousavi.

Big crowd turns out for pro-Mousavi rally
Tens of thousands of supporters of Mousavi gathered for a rally in downtown Tehran on Monday, defying an Interior Ministry ban, a Reuters witness said.

“The street is fully packed,” the witness said, adding the crowd was waiting for Mousavi and other pro-reform leaders who back his call for the annulment of the official result of Friday’s election, which returned Ahmadinejad to another four years in power.

Wearing Mousavi’s green campaign colours and photographs of him, they chanted: “Mousavi take back our votes.”

Several kilometres of a central Tehran thoroughfare were packed with people taking part in the rally, the witness said.

“Where are the 63% who voted for Ahmadinejad?” they chanted, referring to his official election tally.

“If Ahmadinejad remains president we will protest every day,” they shouted. “We fight, we die, we will not accept this vote rigging,” was another chant in the crowd.

As a police helicopter flew overhead, the crowd booed.

Ahmadinejad and Interior Ministry officials have dismissed allegations the vote was rigged. The president has called the election “free and healthy”.—Sapa-AFP, Reuters

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