Sarkozy says Iran election a 'fraud'

Iran Materials 17 June 2009 11:27 (UTC +04:00)

As the landslide victory of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran's disputed election provoked unrest, French President Nicolas Sarkozy denounces the result of Friday's vote as a "fraud", Press TV reported

"The extent of the fraud is proportional to the violent reaction," Sarkozy said Tuesday. "It is a tragedy, but it is not negative to have a real-opinion movement that tries to break its chains."

"If Ahmadinejad has really made progress since the last election and if he really represents two thirds of the electorate... why has this violence erupted?" asked the French leader.

The remarks come as Iran has decried what it calls interference in its internal affairs by certain countries. On Tuesday, Iran's Foreign Ministry summoned a group of European envoys to Tehran over their countries' "malicious stance" toward Tehran.

Ahmadinejad officially won the crucial election on Friday with 24,527,516 votes (62.63 percent) against his main rival Mir-Hossein Moussavi who received 13,216,411 votes (33.75 percent).

Moussavi has dismissed the result as a charade.

In spit of Interior Ministry banning protests, hundreds of thousands of pro-Moussavi supporters have since staged civil rallies around the country.

At least seven people were killed and several others wounded in shootings that broke out during a protest in Tehran on Monday.

Moussavi continues to call on the Guardian Council, tasked with supervising the electoral process, to nullify the election.

However, the council said on Tuesday that it is prepared to only recount disputed ballot boxes. For the election to stand, the top body must approve its disputed results.

Authorities, meanwhile, have moved to prevent further violence on the streets.

Tehran's deputy police chief Ahmad Reza Radan said several people who "masterminded" riots have been arrested.

Amid reports of planned pro-Moussavi rallies, the defeated Iranian candidate has urged his supporters to keep calm and vigilant.