Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Iran's Islamic government facing fundamental doubts

In the aftermath of a disputed election, citizen protests violently quashed by security forces, arrests of dissident leaders and closures of newspapers, Iranian reformists have begun questioning the legitimacy of President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad's government, the Cable News Network (CNN) reported Wednesday. Ahmedinejad's chief opponent, Mir Hossein Mousavi, who has claimed the June 12 election was improper and has demanded a revote, issued a statement saying the government had created a "bitter coup d'etat atmosphere" by its actions, including the media crackdown. "If we do not stand our grounds now, then we will have no guarantees that we won't be at this exact point in the future, face to face with the bitter events of this election," Mousavi said. Mousavi also called for the release of arrested dissidents and said he had proof of election fraud. The statement followed the publication of a letter condemning the government from Mehdi Karrubi, a third presidential candidate, in his political party's newspaper. Further publication of the paper was promptly blocked by the government, CNN said. Karrubi, a 72-year-old cleric, said the government's actions were grounds for annulment of the election. "I will not recognize the legitimacy of the government which has resulted from this process," Karrubi said in the letter. Perhaps Iran's leading reformer, former president Mohammad Khatami, called on Iranians to keep fighting for a fair election. "We must not lose our social capital this easily," Khatami told the progressive Iranian newspaper Tahile Rouz, Reuters said. "I know Mousavi as one of the faithful, original and valuable capitals of our revolution, and considered his return to the political scene as a great chance." Twenty people were killed and more than 1,000 detained in the protests that followed the election. But whatever is going to happen in Iran apparently will have to happen by July 26, when Ahmedinejad is scheduled to take the oath of office before parliament for his second four-year presidential term.

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