Iranian Protesters Mourn Deaths as Guardian Council Calls in Candidates
Supporters of Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi rallied in Tehran again Thursday, many dressed in black and carrying candles to mourn demonstrators killed in post-election clashes, according to witnesses.
"Where are our brothers?" read one banner in the
crowd. "Why did you kill our brothers?" read another, according to a
witness, Reuters reported.
International news organizations have been banned from
covering the protests over last week's elections, which saw the re-election of hard-line
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Mousavi appealed the results to Iran's 12-member Guardian
Council, which vets new laws and certifies election results. The elite legislative
body said Thursday that it had invited candidates challenging official election
results to a Saturday meeting to discuss their grievances, state media
reported, according to the New York Times and the Washington Post.
"We decided to personally invite the esteemed
candidates and those who have complaints regarding the election to take part in
an extraordinary session of the Guardian Council to discuss their concerns with
the members directly so that we will be able to make a decision," council
spokesman Abbas Ali Kadkhodai said on Iranian state television Thursday,
according to the Post.
Earlier in the week, the council said it was willing to
conduct a partial recount, but the opposition rejected the offer. Mousavi
alleges the Guardian Council is not neutral and supports Ahmadinejad, so he
wants an independent investigation, the Associated Press reported.
Kadkhodai said Thursday that
the legislative body has received a total of 646 complaints from the three
candidates who ran against Ahmadinejad in the June 12 vote.
Thursday's protest, meanwhile, marked the fourth day of
major protests, recalling the unrest in 1979 Islamic Revolution that toppled
the Western-backed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Images of the latest protest
have yet to leak out to major media outlets.
Since the election, seven demonstrators have been shot and
killed by pro-regime militia, state-run media has reported.
Another demonstration scheduled for Saturday will include
other opposition politicians and reformist clerics, which could broaden the
coalition of Iranians who believe the vote was a fraud, the Times reported.
On Wednesday, tens of thousands marched silently down a main
street of the capital, holding posters of Mousavi, amateur video showed. The activity
was in defiance of the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who
has urged the nation to unite behind the Islamic state.
Mousavi's Web site said he may join Thursday's rally, but it
was not immediate clear if he attended, according to the AP.
---- Compiled from wire reports and other media sources