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Iran expels 2 British diplomats, refuses new vote

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by MaxShimba, Jun 23, 2009.

  1. MaxShimba

    MaxShimba JF-Expert Member

    Jun 23, 2009
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    By KARIN LAUB, Associated Press Writer Karin Laub, Associated Press Writer – 26 mins ago

    CAIRO – Iran expelled two British diplomats Tuesday after bitterly accusing Britain of meddling and spying. The government also dealt a fresh blow to the opposition by making clear it will not hold a new vote despite charges of fraud.

    State TV said hard-line students protested outside the British Embassy in Tehran, where they burned U.S., British and Israeli flags, pelted the building with tomatoes and chanted: "Down with Britain!" and "Down with USA!" Witnesses said about 100 people took part.

    Iran's Foreign Ministry said it expelled the two Britons for "unconventional behavior," state television reported, and Britain announced it was sending two Iranian diplomats home in retaliation.

    Tensions between Iran and Britain, which has urged the Islamic regime to respect human rights, have soared in recent days.

    During Friday prayers at Tehran University, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei lashed out against Western countries he said were displaying their "enmity" against the Islamic state, "and the most evil of them is the British government." And Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has accused Britain of sending spies to manipulate the June 12 election.
    Iran's expulsions came a day after Britain sent home 12 dependents of diplomatic staff because the unrest had disrupted their lives.

    Opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi claims he was the true winner of the June 12 election, but the electoral commission declared President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won by a landslide.

    Mousavi has been out of sight in recent days and there were no reports of violent clashes Tuesday, possibly a measure of the effectiveness of the crackdown.

    However, protesters came up with new techniques, such as turning on the lights in their cars at certain hours of the day and honking their horns or holding up posters.

    "People are calmly protesting, more symbolically than with their voices," a Tehran resident said in a telephone interview, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of government retribution.

    In recent days, members of the elite Revolutionary Guard, the Basij militia and other security forces in riot gear have been heavily deployed across Tehran, preventing any gatherings and ordering people to keep moving. A protest of some 200 people Monday was quickly broken up with tear gas and shots in the air, while helicopters hovered overhead.

    A short message posted on Mousavi's Web site asserted that "all the reports of violations in the elections will be published soon."
    Another opposition figure, reformist presidential candidate Mahdi Karroubi, called for a day of mourning for the at least 17 people killed in protests since the election.

    Across the world, governments and diplomats were increasingly lining up on opposite sides in the Iranian showdown, the strongest challenge to the rule of Islamic clerics in 30 years.
    In a boost for the embattled regime, Russia said Tuesday that it respects the declared election result. But France summoned Iran's ambassador to express concern about what it called "brutal repression" of protesters in Tehran.

    The U.S. and many European countries have refrained from challenging the election outcome directly, but have issued increasingly stern warnings against continuing violence meted out to demonstrators. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has demanded an immediate end to "arrests, threats and use of force."

    In Washington, President Barack Obama said Tuesday the U.S. and the rest of the world was "appalled and outraged" by Iran's violent efforts to crush dissent.

    "I have made it clear that the United States respects the sovereignty of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and is not interfering in Iran's affairs," Obama said. "But we must also bear witness to the courage and dignity of the Iranian people, and to a remarkable opening within Iranian society. And we deplore violence against innocent civilians anywhere that it takes place."
    Iran's official news agency, IRNA, reported that the Iranian Foreign Ministry rejected Ban's remarks and accused the U.N. chief of meddling.
    However, the Iranian regime appeared determined to crush the post-election protesters, rather than compromise.

    Mousavi has charged massive vote fraud and insisted he is the true winner. However, Iran's top electoral body, Guardian Council, found "no major fraud or breach in the election," a spokesman, Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei, was quoted by Press TV as saying Tuesday. "Therefore, there is no possibility of an annulment taking place."

    The 12-member council has the authority to annul or validate the election. On Monday, it acknowledged in a rare step that it found voting irregularities in 50 of 170 districts, including vote counts that exceeded the number of eligible voters. Still, it said the discrepancies, involving some 3 million votes, were not widespread enough to affect the outcome.
    Iran has 46.2 million eligible voters, one-third of them under 30. The final tally was 62.6 percent of the vote for Ahmadinejad and 33.75 percent for Mousavi, a landslide victory in a race that was perceived to be much closer. The huge margin went against the expectation that the record 85 percent turnout would boost Mousavi.

    In another sign of the regime's crackdown, Ebrahim Raisi, a top judicial official, confirmed Tuesday that a special court has been set up to deal with detained protesters.

    "Elements of riots must be dealt with to set an example. The judiciary will do that," he was quoted as saying by the state-run radio, which gave no further details. The judiciary is controlled by Iran's ruling clerics.
    Ahmadinejad, meanwhile, won crucial backing from Russia on Tuesday, with the Foreign Ministry in Moscow saying it respects the declared election result. In a statement on its Web site, the ministry said that disputes about the vote "should be settled in strict compliance with Iran's Constitution and law" and are "exclusively an internal matter."

    Russia, a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, has longtime political and economic ties with Iran where it is helping build a nuclear power plan at Bushehr. In his only trip abroad since the vote, Ahmadinejad traveled to Russia last week for a conference where he was seen prominently shaking hands with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
    Many Western democracies, including the U.S., have criticized Iran's campaign to crush dissent.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called on Iran to recount the votes, but stopped short of alleging electoral fraud. French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been outspoken in his criticism of Iran's response to the demonstrations, but said doors must remain open to continue talks on the country's nuclear program.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on a visit to Rome, praised the courage of Iranian protesters "in facing bullets in the streets."
    Two prominent Iranian opposition figures took their case to Europe on Tuesday.

    Iranian Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi asked EU officials in Brussels not to negotiate or hold meetings with Iranian leaders until the crackdown stops.

    In Rome, Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf held a news conference, saying he had been asked by Mousavi's aides to spread the word on what is happening in Iran. Makhmalbaf said that even if Ahmadinejad manages to govern for the next four years, "he will not have one day of quietness." He said protesters would resort to general strikes and what he called civil resistance.

    Iranian leaders have accused the West of meddling in its affairs. Press TV said Tuesday that despite such complaints, the government refused to grant a permit for a protest by university students outside the British embassy in Tehran.

    Opposition protests have become smaller, after a huge opposition rally a week ago, though demonstrators have been more willing to confront Iranian troops.

    On Monday, Tehran riot police fired tear gas and live bullets to break up about 200 protesters paying tribute to those killed in the protests, including a young women, Neda Agha Soltan, whose apparent shooting death was captured on video and circulated worldwide. Witnesses said helicopters hovered overhead.

    Caspian Makan, a 37-year-old photojournalist in Tehran who identified himself as Soltan's boyfriend, said she had not been deterred by the risk of joining protests.

    "She only ever said that she wanted one thing, she wanted democracy and freedom for the people of Iran," he told an Associated Press reporter during a telephone call from Tehran.

    Severe restrictions on reporters have made it almost impossible to independently verify reports on demonstrations, clashes and casualties. Iran has ordered reporters for international news agencies to stay in their offices, barring them from reporting on the streets.

    A number of journalists have been detained since the protests began, though there have been conflicting accounts. The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders put the figure of reporters detained at 34.

    The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said 13 were still in custody, including Newsweek correspondent Maziar Bahari.

    The Iranian government must release all journalists and halt "unreasonable and arbitrary measures that are restricting the flow of information," the committee said. "Detaining journalists for reporting news and commentary indicates the government has something to hide."
    ___ Associated Press Writer William J. Kole in Cairo contributed to this report.
  2. Exaud J. Makyao

    Exaud J. Makyao JF-Expert Member

    Jun 23, 2009
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    Its terrible and unfair.
  3. Z

    ZeMarcopolo JF-Expert Member

    Jun 23, 2009
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    Mbona Associated Press hawatoi taarifa ya familia za Iranian Diplomats zilizofukuzwa toka UK jana?
    Hizi Media za Dunia hii!!!
    Pitieni na hapa kwa taarifa za upande wa pili Press TV
  4. Eqlypz

    Eqlypz JF-Expert Member

    Jun 23, 2009
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    Hiyo Press TV ni ya serikali ya Iran? Ukienda kwenye website ya BBC wameandika
    Kwa hiyo aliyeanza kufukuza diplomats ni Iran waingereza wamereturn the favor.
  5. Z

    ZeMarcopolo JF-Expert Member

    Jun 23, 2009
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    Hiyo ni kweli, lakini AP hawajatoa full report.
    Uhusiano wa Iran na UK hauelekei kuzuri!!!