Call for Iran protesters’ release

Former Iranian President Ali Akbar Rafsanjani has called for the release of people jailed after protesting at the result of the recent election. In his first Friday sermon since the vote, he also said large numbers of Iranians still doubted its result. Opposition supporters interrupted the sermon at Tehran University with chants of support for defeated election candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi. Outside police fired tear gas to disperse opposition supporters. Thousands of them rallied in streets near the university – the first public opposition demonstration for more than a week. Many were wearing green bands on their heads or wrists to indicate support for Mr Mousavi, and some could be heard chanting “death to the dictator” and “Allahu Akbar” [God is great].Friday’s rally followed warnings from a minister against turning the occasion into a “stage for undesirable scenes”. Witnesses said a number of people were arrested, including a prominent women’s rights activist, Shadi Sadr. Mr Mousavi, who attended the Friday prayers at which Mr Rafsanjani spoke, has demanded a re-run of the vote and described the new government as illegitimate. Another defeated opposition candidate, Mehdi Karoubi, also attended the prayers, according to the website of his party, Etemad Melli. The site quoted his son as saying that Mr Karoubi had been jostled and insulted as he arrived at the university, causing his turban to fall off.


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