Amid renewed call for protest by opposition candidate, Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has told US President Barack Obama to stop interfering in Iran’s affairs and blamed him for hostile tone similar to his predecessor George W Bush.
Ahmadinejad’s hard stand shows no easing off of tensions between Iran and the US at a number of issues apart from elections – such as Iran’s nuclear program and its support for Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza which, according to the US are terrorist organizations.
Iran’s President’s statement, quoted on the semi-official Fars news agency, came after reports of more than a third of Iran’s 290 Parliament members snubbing a victory party for him and opposition saying that 70 academics had been arrested after meeting the main opposition leader Mir Hussein Moussavi.
On his Web site on Thursday, Moussavi said that he was coming under pressure to withdraw his challenge to the election, which he says was stolen. Another opposition candidate, the third-place Mohsen Rezai, who won far fewer votes than Moussavi and was regarded as the most hard-line of the opposition candidates, withdrew complaints about electoral irregularities on Wednesday.
Moussavi, who has not been seen in public for a week, said that on his Web site Kalemeh that there were “recent pressures on me aimed at withdrawing” his challenge to the vote. He complained that his “access to people is completely restricted,” The Associated Press reported.
On Wednesday, the official Iranian news agency reported that intelligence and security agents in Tehran concluded that a Moussavi campaign office was used for “illegal gatherings, the promotion of unrest, and efforts to undermine the country’s security,” leading to speculation that Mr. Moussavi could be arrested. The news agency reported that “the plotters have been arrested.”