Iranian supreme leader insists government will not yield to protesters

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Friday, June 26, 2009

In a speech Wednesday on state television, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei insisted that the Iranian government "will not yield" in the face of ongoing protests. Khamenei said that the results of the recent election would stand, and he emphasized "implementing the law on the election issue". As many as 17 people have died during street protests after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reasserted himself as President after a June 12 election.

File:Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei,.jpg

Ali Khamenei
Image: Foundation of Holy Defence Values, Archives and Publications.
(Image missing from Commons: image; log)

Khamenei had commanded that the protests in the streets of Iran cease, to no avail. Previously, Khamenei had said five days would be given to look into possible fraud in the election process, but the Iranian electoral body the Guardian Council stated there had been "no major fraud or breach in the election".

Neither the establishment nor the nation will yield to pressure at any cost.

—Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

"I had insisted and will insist on implementing the law on the election issue. Neither the establishment nor the nation will yield to pressure at any cost," Khamenei said on Wednesday.

The conflict in Iran has affected its foreign relations with other countries, and the Iranian government has claimed foreign governments exacerbated the ongoing protests. Foreign press and news media have been heavily restricted from reporting on the protests.

Iran decided to order two diplomats in Iran from the United Kingdom to leave the country, and in response the UK began procedures to expel two Iranian diplomats. "Iran's decision to try to turn what are clearly internal matters for Iran into a conflict with the UK and others is deeply regrettable and without foundation," said a representative for Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Gordon Brown.

It is my duty to continue legal protests to preserve Iranian rights.

Zahra Rahnavard

Those arrested by the Iranian government during the protests include 25 journalists and staff members of Kalemeh Sabz, a newspaper owned by Iranian reform movement politician Mir-Hossein Mousavi. At the official website of Mousavi, his wife Zahra Rahnavard made a statement supporting the rights of the Iranian people. Her husband maintains that the election was fraudulent and is insisting on another poll.

Rahnavard was quoted on Mousavi's website stating: "It is my duty to continue legal protests to preserve Iranian rights." She was also critical of the Iranian government for handling protesters "as if martial law has been imposed in the streets". Rahnavard requested that activists and others arrested at the protests be released from prison.

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