Iran’s President Praises Disputed Elections

CAIRO — President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad tried to put the disputed presidential elections behind him on Tuesday, calling the elections “the freest” and “the healthiest” in his first speech to the nation since the vote, the state-run news service reported.But just several hours earlier, three leading reformists once again defied the government’s command to stop challenging the election. They issued a joint statement demanding the release of all those detained after the disputed June 12 election and deploring the “savage, shocking attacks” against protesters, an opposition Web site reported Tuesday.The statement was issued by Mir Hossein Moussavi, Mr. Ahmadinejad’s top rival; Mehdi Karroubi, who also ran in the election, and Mohammad Khatami, a popular former president.According to the Web site, the three men met late Monday to discuss the government’s crackdown of protests that followed the election. At least 20 people died and hundreds of political figures, intellectuals, journalists and demonstrators have been detained in a sweeping wave of arrests aimed at stopping the unrest.

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