Ahmadinejad defends election victory amid rival's protest
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad defended his re-election in the country's "most glorious" presidential election on Sunday, but his major challenger Mir-Hossein Mousavi demanded the election result to be annulled, Xinua reported.
"The most glorious election was held in Iran on Friday... In Iran, the people decide whom they would vote for," Ahmadinejad told a press conference on Sunday, his first since the government announced his re-election in an overwhelming victory.
In an address to thousands of his supporters in Tehran's Vali-e- Asr Square to celebrate his victory on Sunday, Ahmadinejad said " Iran's election is a real and free election" and that the "great people" of Iran chose the one whose policies they trust much.
Ahmadinejad defended his foreign policies especially his policies over the nuclear issue, saying Iran's nuclear issue belonged to the past, signaling that there would be no change in his second term.
"Iran's nuclear issue belongs to the past ... Now we want a global disarmament of nuclear weapons," he said, adding that, "We express our readiness to participate in and to manage (the issue). "
Ahmadinejad highlighted the increasing clout of his country and ruled out the possibility of any threat.
Humiliating such claims of the United States and Israel's military option on Iran's nuclear sites, he said, "these are just propaganda. No power dares to threaten Iran ... Iran will make any attacker regret it. There is no possibility that one does such a stupidity."
Asked about the arrests of some reformists and reporters after the announcement of the election result, Iran's president-elect compared the unrest on the streets by his rival camp to the riots after football matches, saying "all the people are equal before the law."
Ahmadinejad said the protests would disappear after a while, just like those angry fans wreaking following a defeated football match.
On Saturday afternoon, Iran's Interior Minister Sadeq Mahsouli announced that Ahmadinejad won 62.63 percent of the total votes during Friday's vote, while former Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi got 33.75 percent.
After the official declaration, Mousavi, in a statement, protested "strongly" the "obvious" violations in Iran's presidential election.
Thousands of his supporters took to the streets in Tehran on Saturday to protest against the re-election of Ahmadinejad who has secured a second term for the next four years.
At least 10 leaders and more than 160 members of Iran's reformist groups have been arrested after violent protests against the results of Friday's presidential election, local media reported Sunday.
"With the verdict issued by the judiciary, 10 organizers of the Tehran's yesterday (Saturday) incidents were arrested in their headquarters," Iran's deputy police chief Ahmad-Reza Radan was quoted as saying by the semi-official Fars news agency.
Mousavi has appealed for Iran's Guardians Council to cancel the country's June 12 presidential election result, a statement posted on his website said on Sunday.
"Today, I wrote a letter to the Guardian Council asking them to cancel the result of the recent (presidential) election," Mousavi said in the statement.
"I again emphatically advise you to continue the civil and legal opposition throughout the country peacefully and observe non- confrontation principle," Mousavi said.
"We have asked the officials for a permission of a big rally in all cities of the country so that the people could have a chance to express their opposition to the way the election was held and to its results," he added.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has urged supporters of both the winner and the defeated candidates to avoid provocative behavior.