Defeated Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi appeared in public on Monday for the first time since an election that has divided the nation, joining thousands of supporters who defied a ban to stage a mass rally in Tehran.
Mousavi addressed the crowds from atop a car at the opposition march staged in protest at President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s landslide election win that the wartime premier has branded a rigged “charade.”
“Mousavi we support you! We will die but retrieve our votes!” shouted the crowds of thousands, young and old, who poured into central Tehran in defiance of an interior ministry ban on the march.
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Iran’s supreme leader has ordered a top regime body to look into the complaints raised by the moderate Mousavi, as Iran faced a growing international backlash over the validity of the election and the subsequent crackdown on opposition protests.
Ahmadinejad has defended the results of an election that gave the combative hardliner another four years in power, denting Western hopes of a change in domestic and foreign policy of the oil-rich Shiite-dominated nation.