Sunday, June 14, 2009

Khatami's Clerical Group Urges Annulling Iran Poll Results

Khatami's Clerical Group Urges Annulling Iran Poll Results

TEHRAN (AFP)--The clerical group of former reformist president Mohammad Khatami called on Saturday for a re-staging of the presidential vote which saw incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad emerge victorious.

The Combatant Clerics' Assembly, whose members comprise reformist and moderate clerics, expressed concern at a "massive engineering of votes" in Friday's election - echoing comments by Ahmadinejad's main challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi.

"The assembly concludes that annulling this election and repeating the vote in a fairer and more logical atmosphere is the right way to retrieve public trust and sustain the national reconciliation with voting," it said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the main mobile telephone network in Iran was cut in the capital Tehran Saturday evening while popular Internet Web sites Facebook and YouTube also appeared to be blocked, correspondents said.

The communication cuts came after Ahmadinejad won a landslide re-election victory, sparking rioting in the streets by opposition supporters who claimed the result had been rigged.

The mobile phone network stopped working at 1730 GMT, just before Ahmadinejad went on television to declare the election a "great victory" and even as baton- wielding police were clashing with protestors in the streets of Tehran, according to witnesses.

Iran has two national networks run by state-owned MCI (Telecommunication Company of Iran) and the private firm Irancell.

Several Iran-based users logging on via different Internet service providers, meanwhile, said they could reach neither Facebook nor YouTube - the two websites used effectively by young supporters of Ahmadinejad's moderate rival Mir Hossein Mousavi.

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