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Iran’s Election Authority Finds No Major Fraud in Vote

June 23, 2009 at 6:00 PM EDT
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After days of street protests over the June 12 presidential election, Iran's electoral authority announced Tuesday it found "no major irregularities" in the vote. ITN's Channel 4 news correspondent Jonathan Miller reports.

JIM LEHRER: The government crackdown in Iran kept a lid on protests today. Police and militias were out in force again in Tehran, and there were new arrests.

At the same time, the top legislative body rejected calls for a new presidential election.

We begin our lead story coverage with a report narrated by Jonathan Miller of Independent Television News.

JONATHAN MILLER: “Quick, wind the windows up,” says the driver, as yet another mobile phone captures yet another beating, a woman again, by the Basij militia. The protesters thin on the ground today, though.

These pictures downloaded not long ago from YouTube show a small march sneakily shot along the Horostan Avenue in downtown Tehran.

Iran’s still reeling from Saturday’s clashes, which were a shock to the system. The stakes getting higher by the day, though, for the reformist opposition, who claim the election was stolen. Iran’s Guardian Council, the panel of clerics empowered with validating elections, have today done exactly that.

ABBAS ALI KADKHODAEI, Iranian Guardian Council Spokesman (through translator): Fortunately, we have witnessed no major irregularities during the country’s recent presidential election, and therefore there is no reason to annul the election.

JONATHAN MILLER: It’s now been announced that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be sworn in as president by mid-August, no recount, no annulment, despite the council’s admission yesterday that in 50 cities there were 3 million more votes cast than voters.

Mir Hossein Mousavi is now on a collision course. Does he keep up the pressure and risk lives as the Revolutionary Guard threatens decisive action and a senior official says those arrested will be taught an exemplary lesson?

Another presidential candidate has called for more protest marches tomorrow to commemorate those killed. Independent estimates suggest that as many as 270 may now have died nationwide.

State TV in Iran paraded people today it said had been arrested, airing their apparent confessions, too, pointing fingers at familiar scapegoats.

PROTESTOR (through translator): I was influenced by the Voice of America and the BBC. We set public property on fire. We threw stones. We attacked cars and broke windows.

JONATHAN MILLER: The BBC’s Persian language TV channel, funded by the foreign office, denying it was fomenting revolution, rejecting allegations it was British government propaganda. Iran’s supreme leader last week branded Britain as evil.

The regime today finding other surprising whipping boys to distract from this increasingly violent political showdown. Four Iranian international footballers have reportedly had life bans imposed and passports confiscated after they sported pro-Mousavi green wristbands at a World Cup qualifier in South Korea last week.