Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s main political rival today attempted to call off a mass protest in central Tehran in the face of government threats and a counter-demonstration that looked set to produce another day of violence.
At least seven people were killed yesterday in Iran’s biggest street protests since the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and the prospect of two conflicting protests in Vali Asr Square prompted Mir Hossein Mousavi, the defeated challenger, to warn his supporters off.
Four days after Mr Ahmadinejad claimed a huge re-election win, the powerful Guardian Council offered a partial recount of disputed ballot boxes in response to complaints of massive electoral fraud.
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The move by the country’s highest legislative body appeared to be the first concession to the opposition after hundreds of thousands joined anti-government protests.
But many saw it as a ploy by the mullahs to buy time before their formal endorsement of Mr Ahmadinejad’s victory. Mr Mousavi had asked the council of clerics to annul the election and re-run it, but they rejected that demand as impossible.