Iran’s opposition leader rejects partial recount |

Iran’s opposition leader rejects partial recount

Associated Press Writer

EDITOR’S NOTE: Iranian authorities have barred journalists for international news organizations from reporting on the streets and ordered them to stay in their offices. This report is based on the accounts of witnesses reached in Iran and official statements carried on Iranian media.

Iran’s opposition leader insisted that the recent bitterly contested presidential election be nullified, rejecting the latest offer of a partial recount and signaling he’s not dropping his political challenge despite mounting pressures by Iran’s ruling clergy.

Iran’s rulers have already ruled out a repeat of the election, unleashed club-wielding militiamen to crush street protests and arrested hundreds of activists, students and journalists. Mir Hossein Mousavi’s demand for a revote appeared largely aimed at maintaining some role as an opposition figure.

The latest statement by Mousavi, who is increasingly isolated in the past week, appeared Sunday on Ghalamnews, a Web site run by supporters. Mousavi-related Web sites have frequently been blocked by the government, and one was shut down by hackers last week.

Mousavi claims he is the rightful presidential winner, alleging massive fraud in the June 12 vote that proclaimed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the winner by a landslide.

Iran’s top electoral body, the 12-member Guardian Council, has proposed recounting 10 percent of the votes. On Friday, the council offered to bring in six more political figures to oversee a partial recount, presumably to give the effort greater legitimacy in the eyes of the challengers.

However, Mousavi reiterated his demand for nullification as “the most suitable solution to restore public confidence.” He called for independent arbiters to settle the dispute.

Another defeated candidate, Mahdi Karroubi, also expressed doubt that a fair review is possible.

“How is it possible to answer controversies through counting some ballots?” he wrote in a letter to the Guardian Council, published Sunday in his newspaper, Etemad-e-Melli.

A third candidate, Mohsen Rezaei, said he would only send a representative to the council, for observation of a re-count, if the other two candidates did the same.

Iran’s Expediency Council, which mediates between the parliament and the ruling clerics, asked the three candidates to cooperate with the partial recount, according to a statement on state TV.

At the same time, the council, headed by influential former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, demanded that the review be “precise and fair.”

Laub reported from Cairo. Associated Press writer Shaya Tayefe Mohajer in Cairo contributed to this report.