TOPICS > Politics

In Iran, Recount to Begin as 7 Die in Protests

BY Admin  June 16, 2009 at 10:35 AM EST

Mir Hossein Mousavi supporters in Tehran; Getty

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner of the election in a landslide, but the main opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi

appealed the results, and his supporters staged the largest street protest Monday since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Iranian state television said Tuesday that seven people had been killed near the site of a rally in Tehran but did not specify if the dead were opposition supporters or others, Reuters reported.

Supporters of Mousavi planned another rally Tuesday at Vali-ye Asr Square in Tehran, even though he urged people not to attend the banned event, amid concerns of continued violence.

“This headquarters calls on people to avoid the trap of planned clashes,” a Mousavi spokesman told the Agence France-Presse.

State television showed live pictures of what it said were Ahmadinejad supporters gathering at the Vali-ye Asr Square, in which thousands of people were waving Iranian flags, according to Reuters.

During the past three days of violence, police have accused “bandits” of setting buses on fire, breaking windows of banks and other buildings, and damaging public property.

Since the protests started, dozens of people have been arrested, the BBC reported. An aide to ex-President Mohammad Khatami, Mohammad Ali Abtahi, was detained at his home in Tehran on Tuesday. Prominent journalist and academic Ahmad Zeidabadi was picked up in the middle of the night on Saturday, his wife said.

Some new demonstrations have been reported at Tehran University, where about 120 university lecturers have resigned.

Iranian authorities, meanwhile, have blocked foreign correspondents from firsthand reporting on the streets and have said they will not extend the visas of reporters who came to Iran to cover the elections.

The order issued Tuesday limits journalists for foreign media to work only from their offices, conducting telephone interviews and monitoring official sources such as state television, the Associated Press reported.

“No journalist has permission to report or film or take pictures in the city,” a Culture Ministry official told Reuters.

U.S. President Barack Obama said he was deeply troubled by the post-election violence and that protesters who had taken to the streets had inspired the world, Reuters reported.

Despite the protests, Ahmadinejad was in Russia Tuesday for a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization — an intergovernmental security organization founded by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan — his first official trip since election results declared his re-election.