Thousands of Iranian supporters of reformist presidential candidate Mir
Hossein Mousavi have defied a ban on rallies to protest in Tehran
against the disputed re-election of Iran's conservative president.
The pro-Mousavi activists rallied in downtown Tehran Monday, despite a
government warning that it would be illegal. Riot police were on the
scene but did not stop the rally. Mr. Mousavi said he planned to attend
the rally to calm the crowd.
The protesters chanted for Mr. Mousavi to retrieve their votes from
Friday's election. The reformist candidate has accused the government
of voter fraud. Official results gave a landslide victory to President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, with Mr. Mousavi a distant second.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei asked the powerful Guardian
Council of Islamic clerics to investigate allegations of voter
fraud. Mr. Mousavi appealed to the Council Sunday to cancel the
President Ahmadinejad says the election was free and fair.
Ayatollah Khamanei initially cheered Mr. Ahmadinejad's apparent
landslide victory and urged Iranians to unite behind the president.
Iranian state media say Ayatollah Khamenei urged Mr. Mousavi on Sunday to pursue election complaints through legal means.
In another development, the Iranian embassy in Moscow says Mr.
Ahmadinejad has postponed the start of a visit to Russia from Monday to
Iran's president had been due to arrive in the Russian city of
Yekaterinburg Monday for talks with his Russian counterpart Dmitri
Medvedev on the sidelines of a regional summit.
Without giving a reason for the change of schedule, Iranian diplomats
said Mr. Ahmadinejad will arrive on Tuesday to take part in the summit
of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
Official election results show Mr. Ahmadinejad won 63 percent of the
vote, compared to 34 percent for Mr. Mousavi, his main rival.