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post #41 of 53 (permalink) Old 06-15-2009, 09:40 AM
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No doubt!
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post #42 of 53 (permalink) Old 06-15-2009, 10:19 AM
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Iran protesters defy rally ban

Al Jazeera English - Middle East - Iran protesters defy rally ban

UPDATED ON:
Monday, June 15, 2009
18:58 Mecca time, 15:58 GMT
News Middle East
Iran protesters defy rally ban

Tens of thousands of people rallied in support of defeated electoral candidate Mousavi [AFP]

Tens of thousands of Iranian's have rallied in the country's capital in defiance of a government ban to protest against the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president.

In his first public appearance since the elections three days ago, Mir Hossein Mousavi, the defeated presidential candidate, told supporters at the Tehran rally on Monday that he would take part if new elections were called.

"The vote of the people is more important than Mousavi or any other person," he said.

The demonstrators headed toward the capital's huge Freedom Square, in what was the largest display of opposition to the election results to date.

"Mousavi we support you! We will die but retrieve our votes!" shouted supporters, many wearing the trademark green colour of Mousavi's election campaign.

In depth



Video: Poll result triggers protests in Tehran
Iran curbs media after poll result
Mousavi sees election hopes dashed
Iran writer on poll result
Mousavi's letter to the people
Iran poll result 'harms US hopes'
West concerned by Iran fraud claims
The Iranian political system
Inside Story: Iran's political future

Sadegh Zibakalam, who was present at the rally, suggested the number of people present could even be over one million.

"To be perfectly honest with you I couldn't believe my eyes ... The numbers were simply countless," he told Al Jazeera.

"The atmosphere was very peaceful. Evey now and then people wanted to chant slogans in favour of Mousavi or against Ahmadinejad ... but for most of the time the crowd was very quiet."

He said the rally was peaceful.

"Many people had even taken their children. They had come with their whole family," he said, adding that there was word among the crowd that a similar demonstration would take place on Tuesday.

There have been several clashes between Mousavi supporters and riot police since Ahmadinejad was declared the landslide winner, with some indications that a number of violent incidents have taken place around the country.

The official election results gave Ahmadinejad 63 per cent of the vote and Mousavi just 34 per cent, figures which Mousavi has dismissed as a "dangerous charade".

Ahmadinejad delayed attending a regional security summit in Russia as a result of the protests.

International criticism

Iran has faced a growing international backlash over the validity of the polls.

The European Union has said it plans to demand clarification of Ahmadinejad's victory and both France and Germany have summoned the respective Iranian ambassadors to account for events.

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, said that he was closely following the situation to see "how it evolves".

"The position of me and the United Nations is that the genuine will of the Iranian people should be fully respected," he said.

Washington, which is locked in a dispute with Iran over its nuclear programme, is also monitoring the situation.

"Obviously we continue to have concerns about what we're seeing," Robert Gibbs, the White House spokesman, said.

Election complaints

Pro-Ahmadeinejad supporters gathered outside both the British and French embassies in Tehran to protest against interference in Iranian affairs by foreign powers.

Some chanted slogans against the "plots of Iran's Western enemies", a witness said.

Mohammad Khatami, Iran's reformist former president, criticised the authorities for denying permission for the pro-Mousavi rally to be held and said the election had dented the trust of the public.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, has ordered officials to look into the election complaints.

The 12-man Guardian Council said it would rule within 10 days on the two official complaints it had received from Mousavi and Mohsen Rezaie, another losing candidate.

The council headed by Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, who endorsed Ahmadinejad before the vote, vets election candidates and must formally approve the results for the outcome to stand.

'Pandora's box'

Earlier in the day, about 400 pro-reform students, many wearing green face masks to conceal their identity, gathered at a mosque in Tehran University and demanded Ahmadinejad's resignation.

Pro-Ahmadinejad supporters protested against what they said was foreign interference [AFP]
Some said a religious armed group had attacked their dormitory.

"They hit our friends and took away at least 100 students. We have no news about their whereabouts," said another student.

University officials denied the reported incident, but Iran's ISNA news agency later reported that MPs had called for an investigation into the attack.

Ebrahim Yazdi, the leader of the banned opposition Freedom Movement, said Ahmadinejad's attacks on his opponents had opened a "Pandora's box" which had led to a deep crisis within the Islamic state's establishment.

"The result of such a crisis now is that the rift among the ... personalities in the revolution is getting deeper," he said.

"It is also between people and their government ... a rift between state and the nation. It is the biggest crisis since the [1979] revolution."
Source: Al Jazeera and agencies
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post #43 of 53 (permalink) Old 06-15-2009, 11:04 AM
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Iran curbs media after poll result

UPDATED ON:
Monday, June 15, 2009
14:26 Mecca time, 11:26 GMT
News Middle East
Iran curbs media after poll result
Tehran accuses the media of exaggerating
post-poll protests in the country [AFP]

Iran has taken steps to control the flow of information from both domestic and international news sources, accusing them of exaggerating reports of anti-government protests in Tehran, the capital.

On Monday, the government ordered the expulsion of a Spanish television crew who were covering the protests against the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, one of the journalists said.

"We are the unwelcome witnesses," Yolanda Alvarez of the RTVE public broadcasting network said.

"They want to get rid of all the foreign media ... the streets last night were full of ant-riot police. The reason there has been no repression (until now) is definitely because they know we were there," she said.

Al Jazeera's Teymoor Nabili, reporting from Tehran, said that it had become increasingly difficult for the media to operate in Iran since the elections results were announced on Saturday.

"Day-by-day our ability to access any information has been slowly whittled away," he said.

"I now stand in a position where I am no longer allowed to take a camera out onto the streets, I am not even sure if I can walk out onto the streets with a mobile phone without getting into trouble.

Newspaper suspended

Also on Monday, a reformist newspaper owned by Mir Hossein Mousavi, the defeated presidential candidate, was suspended by the authorities.

"It seems to be part of a pattern of behaviour by the Iranian authorities to limit the reporting of the aftermath of the disputed election"

Peter Horrocks,
BBC World Service director
According to a report in another newspaper, Mousavi's Kalameh Sabz (Green Word) newspaper was suspended following the publication of an unspecified caricature, and a complaint concerning an insult to Ahmadinejad.

The paper's website reported that more than 10 million votes in Friday's election were missing national identification numbers, data which make the vote "untraceable."

However, it did not say where it got the information.

The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) said its broadcast was being electronically jammed causing service disruptions for viewers and listeners in Iran, the Middle East and Europe.

It said it had traced the jamming of the satellite signal broadcasting its Farsi-language service to a spot inside Iran.

"It seems to be part of a pattern of behaviour by the Iranian authorities to limit the reporting of the aftermath of the disputed election,'' Peter Horrocks, the director of BBC World Service in London, said.

Internet filtering

Ahmadinejad lashed out at the media shortly after he claimed victory in the election that critics say was marked by widespread voter fraud.

The government increased its internet filtering. Social networking sites including Facebook and Twitter were not working, and mobile phone services were restored on Sunday, after being down on election day.

Geronimo Akerlund, a spokesman for the Swedish network SVT, said its reporter had been asked to "leave Iran as soon as possible", and Al Arabiya, the Dubai-based news network, said its correspondent in Tehran was verbally told by Iranian authorities that its office would be closed for a week.

At a news conference on Sunday, Ahmadinejad sought to allay fears about a media crackdown and said: "Don't worry about freedom in Iran. Newspapers come and go and reappear. Don't worry about it."
Source: Agencies
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post #44 of 53 (permalink) Old 06-15-2009, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by p100 View Post
If you take the word "Islamic" out, you may be describing the US government as well. We may not be a "total police state" yet, but we almost got there under Bush and Cheney.
Not to worry, OweBama will get us the rest of the way soon enough. "We the People" (or more correctly our politicians) own some of the biggest corporations in the world, have a salary Czar, and plenty of appointed Czars that don't have to answer to anyone except the Pres. No, it won't take long at all....

What we need is term limits to get the entrenched bastards out of Washington, maybe then we can stand a chance at some freedom, and control.

"Negotiating with Obama is like playing chess with a pigeon, the pigeon knocks over all the pieces, on the board and then struts around like it won the game."
Vladimir Putin

"They have gun control in Cuba. They have universal health care in Cuba. So why do they want to come here?"
Paul Harvey 8/31/94


"The only people who have quick answers don't have the responsibility of making the decisions."
Justice Clarence Thomas
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post #45 of 53 (permalink) Old 06-15-2009, 11:22 AM
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^ Won't work. In fact, it'll make matters worse. How about some simple accountability and transparency?
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post #46 of 53 (permalink) Old 06-15-2009, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by QBNCGAR View Post
^ Won't work. In fact, it'll make matters worse. How about some simple accountability and transparency?
Explain how getting rid of those that are in there for themselves can make things any worse than they already are.

I'm all for accountability and transparency, but haven't seen much lately, especially after it was promised by Pelosi.

"Negotiating with Obama is like playing chess with a pigeon, the pigeon knocks over all the pieces, on the board and then struts around like it won the game."
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post #47 of 53 (permalink) Old 06-15-2009, 02:26 PM
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Iran protester slain after huge pro-reform rally

Iran protester slain after huge pro-reform rally
By ANNA JOHNSON and ALI AKBAR DAREINI, Associated Press Writers Anna Johnson And Ali Akbar Dareini, Associated Press Writers 17 mins ago

TEHRAN, Iran – Gunfire from a pro-government militia killed one man and wounded several others Monday after hundreds of thousands of chanting opponents of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad marched in central Tehran to support their pro-reform leader in his first public appearance since disputed elections. The outpouring in Azadi, or Freedom, Square for reformist leader Mir Hossein Mousavi followed a decision by Iran's most powerful figure for an investigation into the vote-rigging allegations.

Security forces watched quietly, with shields and batons at their sides.

Later, a group of demonstrators with fuel canisters set a small fire at a compound of a volunteer militia linked to Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard as the crowd dispersed from the square. As some tried to storm the building, people on the roof could be seen firing directly at the demonstrators at the northern edge of the square, away from the heart of the rally.

An Associated Press photographer saw one person fatally shot and at least two others who appeared to be seriously wounded.

The United States was "deeply troubled" by reports of violence and arrests in Iran, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said, but he added that the U.S. knows too little about the conduct of the election to say for sure whether there was fraud.

The chanting demonstrators had defied an Interior Ministry ban and streamed into central Tehran — an outpouring for Mousavi that swelled as more poured from buildings and side streets.

The crowd — many wearing the trademark green color of Mousavi's campaign — was more than five miles (nine kilometers) long, and based on previous demonstrations in the square and surrounding streets, its size was estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands.

"I am ready to pay any price to materialize the ideals of you dear people," he said, speaking though a portable loudspeaker. "People feel their wisdom has been insulted. We have to pursue legal channels to regain our trampled rights and stop this last lie, and stand up to fraud and this astonishing charade."

Mousavi, wearing a gray striped shirt, said his solution was "canceling the result of this disputed election."

"This will have the least cost for our nation. Otherwise, nothing will remain of people's trust in the government and ruling system."

The crowd roared back: "Long live Mousavi."

One placard said, in English: "This is not election. This is selection." Other marchers held signs proclaiming "We want our vote!" and they raised their fingers in a V-for-victory salute.

"We want our president, not the one who was forced on us," said 28-year-old Sara, who gave only her first name because she feared reprisal from authorities.

As darkness fell, cries of "Allahu akbar!" — "God is great!" — were heard across central Tehran as people gathered on rooftops for a second straight night. On Sunday night, Ahmadinejad opponents shouted "Death to the dictator!" The protest bore deep historic resonance — it was how the leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini asked Iran to unite against the Western-backed shah 30 years earlier.

Elsewhere in Iran, witnesses saw hundreds of Mousavi supporters gathered in the heart of the central city of Esfahan. Some broke windows of police stations and buildings belonging to the government's Revolutionary Courts, tribunals designated for crimes against the principles of the Islamic ruling system.

Thousands gathered at a university in the northeastern city of Mashhad, witnesses told the AP by phone. In other parts of the town, generally seen as more conservative than Tehran, there were scattered gatherings, and police with batons beat demonstrators.

Police in the southern city of Shiraz fired in the air to disperse several pro-Mousavi gatherings. Police Gen. Ali Moayeri of the Fars Province police told reporters that officers had been "authorized to shoot. From now on we will respond harshly."

One of Mousavi's Web sites said a student protester was killed early Monday in clashes with plainclothes hard-liners in Shiraz.

In the heavily Arab city of Ahvaz near the Iraqi border, about 2,000 people chanted, "We don't want a dictator!" Police attacked some of them with batons.

Most media are not allowed to travel beyond Tehran and thus can not independently confirm protests elsewhere.

Earlier Monday, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei directed one of Iran's most influential bodies, the Guardian Council, to examine the election claims. But the move by Khamenei — who had earlier welcomed the election results — had no guarantee it would satisfy those challenging Ahmadinejad's re-election or quell days of rioting after Friday's election that left parts of Tehran scarred by flames and shattered store fronts.

The 12-member Guardian Council, made up of clerics and experts in Islamic law and closely allied to Khamenei, must certify ballot results and has the apparent authority to nullify an election. But it would be an unprecedented step. Claims of voting irregularities went to the council after Ahmadinejad's upset victory in 2005, but there was no official word on the outcome of the inquiry, and the vote stood.

More likely, the dramatic intervention by Khamenei could buy time in hopes of reducing the anti-Ahmadinejad anger. The prospect of spiraling protests and clashes is the ultimate nightmare for the Islamic establishment, which could be forced into back-and-forth confrontations and risks having the dissidents move past the elected officials and directly target the ruling theocracy.

Government shootings of protesters before the Islamic Revolution set up a cycle of violence in which the shah's forces opened fire on demonstrators massing to mourn "martyrs" at the end of the 40-day Muslim mourning period. Forty days later, demonstrators gathered again, there were new shootings, and the cycle continued.

Monday's massive display of opposition unity suggested a possible shift in tactics by authorities after cracking down hard on days of rioting. Although rallies were outlawed earlier, security forces were not ordered to move against the protesters.

State TV quoted Khamenei as ordering the Guardian Council to "carefully probe" the allegations of fraud, which were contained in a letter Mousavi submitted Sunday.

On Saturday, however, Khamenei urged the nation to unite behind Ahmadinejad and called the result a "divine assessment."

The results touched off three days of the worst unrest in Tehran in a decade. Protesters set fires and battled riot police, including a clash overnight at Tehran University after about 3,000 students gathered to oppose the election results.

Security forces have struck back with targeted arrests of pro-reform activists and blocking text messaging and pro-Mousavi Web sites used to rally his supporters.

The unrest risked bringing splits among Iran's clerical elite, including some influential Shiite scholars raising concern about possible election irregularities and at least one member of the ruling theocracy, former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, openly critical of Ahmadinejad in the campaign.

According to a pro-Mousavi Web site, he sent a letter to senior clerics in Qom, Iran's main center of Islamic learning, to spell out his claims.

The accusations also have brought growing international concern. On Sunday, Vice President Joe Biden raised questions about whether the vote reflected the wishes of the Iranian people.

Britain and Germany joined the calls of alarm over the confrontations. In Paris, the Foreign Ministry summoned the Iranian ambassador to discuss the allegations of vote tampering and the violence.

Overnight, police and hard-line militia stormed Tehran University, ransacking dormitories and arresting dozens of students. The university was the site of serious clashes against student-led protests in 1999 and is one of the nerve centers of the pro-reform movement.

The gathering at the university started with students chanting "Death to the dictator." But it quickly erupted into clashes as students threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at police, who fired tear gas and plastic bullets, a 25-year-old student who witnessed the fighting told the AP. He would only give one name, Akbar, out of fear for his safety.

The students set vehicles afire and hurled stones and bricks at the police, he said. Hard-line militia volunteers loyal to the Revolutionary Guard stormed the dormitories, ransacking student rooms and smashing computers and furniture, Akbar said.

Before leaving around 4 a.m., the police took memory cards and computer software material, Akbar said, adding that dozens of students were arrested.

He said many students suffered bruises, cuts and broken bones in the scuffles.

"Many students are now leaving to go home to their families, they are scared," he said. "But others are staying. The police and militia say they will be back and arrest any students they see."

"I want to stay because they beat us and we won't retreat," he added.

In Moscow, the Iranian Embassy said Ahmadinejad postponed his visit to Russia until Tuesday. Ahmadinejad had been expected to travel to the Russian city of Yekaterinburg and meet on Monday with President Dmitry Medvedev on the sidelines of a regional summit.
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post #48 of 53 (permalink) Old 06-15-2009, 02:30 PM
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Mousavi

Mousavi

From:
IRAN ELECTION 2009
Iranian writer on poll result

Exerpt:
In order to win Mousavi had taken up the progressive slogans, which he had previously fought against. I was there at the beginning of the Islamic Revolution when he was the Prime Minister, and implemented many of the repressive measures which he now denounces.

I (like many others) was thrown out of the university that Mousavi helped to shut down as part of the Cultural Revolution.

The fact that Mr. Mousavi or Karoobi choose to talk of freedom and human rights show the degree to which the divisions within the regime are affected by the resistance of the Iranian people. I think these are the important points about the elections and not only who won or who lost.

Full text: Al Jazeera English - Middle East - Iranian writer on poll result
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post #49 of 53 (permalink) Old 06-15-2009, 10:11 PM
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I doubt the Mullahs expected this kind of voter reaction, and will be better prepared in the future.

This might be the one chance for Iranian's to force a regime change.
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post #50 of 53 (permalink) Old 06-15-2009, 11:01 PM
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Hundreds of thousands of Iranian protesters defied authorities

latimes.com
Tens of thousands in Iran protest vote result - Los Angeles Times
From the Los Angeles Times
By Borzou Daragahi and Ramin Mostaghim

June 16, 2009

Reporting from Tehran — Hundreds of thousands of Iranian protesters defied authorities Monday and marched to Tehran's Freedom Square, as the Islamic Republic's supreme leader ordered an investigation into allegations of voter fraud, a move the opposition described as little more than an attempt to dampen anger over the reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, ordered the Guardian Council, which is filled with his own appointees and led by a hard-line cleric close to Ahmadinejad, to examine challenger Mir-Hossein Mousavi's claims of vote fraud. Khamenei's order came hours before the march, amid a days-long buildup of tension.

Days after Khamenei blessed the election of Ahmadinejad and urged Iranians to rally behind the president, the spokesman of the Guardian Council urged Mousavi's supporters to wait for the "final results" of Friday's election until after the fraud investigation, which will begin today.

"My request to the dear candidates and their supporters, who are trying to voice their objections while respecting the law and ethics, is to bear with us," council spokesman Abbas-Ali Kadkhodai said in a live round-table discussion on television Monday night. "We will investigate and announce the result. The final result will be the one announced by the Guardian Council, which everyone should hopefully accept."

His call for patience came as gunfire from a pro-government militia base adjacent to the demonstration killed one and injured others, news agencies reported.

The crowd -- estimates of which ranged from 100,000 to more than 1 million -- defied Interior Ministry warnings broadcast on state television and radio that anyone showing up would be beaten or worse, and even ignored Mousavi's last-minute call to cancel the event.

The protesters found out about the rally despite a media clampdown that brought the shuttering of numerous opposition websites, including those linked to Mousavi, the jamming of satellite news channels and the shutdown of text messaging systems. In an attempt to help keep information flowing, a Twitter co-founder wrote in a blog Monday that the company had delayed an important maintenance operation.

Pro-Ahmadinejad demonstrators hurled eggs at the French Embassy on Monday, attempting to link the West to the unrest surrounding the election results.

President Obama said his administration would continue to seek to negotiate with Iran's leaders.

"I am deeply troubled by the violence that I've been seeing on television," Obama said in Washington. "I can't state definitively one way or another what happened with respect to the election. But what I can say is that there appears to be a sense on the part of people who were so hopeful and so engaged and so committed to democracy who now feel betrayed."

Khamenei has for years tried to put his own religious ultraconservative faction in charge of all branches of government. He marginalized not only the nation's secularists but reformist and pragmatist leaders who were pillars of the Islamic Revolution, risking a backlash by barring huge swaths of people from political power.

There were few signs that the unrest would let up. In the crowd, people passed information about another gathering today in Vali Asr Square, in central Tehran. Mousavi supporters also called for a general strike today.

The massive, diverse gathering refuted the charge by Ahmadinejad supporters and some Western analysts that Mousavi's support was drawn from the wealthy and educated in northern Tehran.

In the crowd, women in flowing black chadors mingled with factory owners. College students wearing headbands and ribbons of green, the color of the Mousavi campaign, walked side by side next to government employees with salt-and-pepper hair. Bazaar laborers in black T-shirts and motorcycle deliverymen with grime on their fingers waved their hands in the air alongside elegantly coiffed women sporting designer sunglasses.

They came tentatively at first, worried that security forces would crack down harshly. Authorities shut down the cellphone network in the area. As demonstrators arrived, they called friends and relatives from pay phones to drive to nearby streets, park and join the gathering.

"I am fed up with the rigging of votes," said Nargess Hassanpour, a 24-year-old architect. "I had never voted until last Friday. I am here and I march toward Azadi [Freedom] Square as far as I can reach, and let come what may."

From adjacent office buildings, supporters waved and cheered, holding up pictures of Mousavi, as passing cars, taxis and minibus drivers honked in support.

The pro-government Basiji militiamen stood along the sidelines, appearing stunned by the magnitude of the crowd. They have become the scourge of the Mousavi supporters after fighting demonstrators for two nights and storming Tehran University on Sunday night, injuring dozens of students.

University activists alleged that the Basiji killed five students as they stormed the campus to quell a demonstration. The school's chancellor confirmed the attack but did not mention the deaths.

By 5 p.m., a continuous flood of people surged from west to east toward the expansive Freedom Square, nearly filling the roadway as well as the surrounding green space, with more demonstrators pouring in from all directions.

"Rockets, tanks, Basiji no longer have any effect on us!" they chanted, updating a popular slogan from the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

They came in swarms along the miles-long stretch leading from Revolution Square into Freedom Square, and from other streets, pouring in a nonstop stream, blocking traffic along nearby highways, where people in stopped cars began waving.

"Mousavi! Mousavi! Get our votes back!" they chanted in support of the 67-year-old former prime minister who showed up at the rally, along with other prominent reformist figures.

"If I died today it would be perfect," said Hossein, a 60-year-old retired schoolteacher, walking through the crowd with the help of a cane. "The nation of Iran has woken up."

There were unconfirmed reports of large-scale protests in Shiraz and Esfahan, in central Iran, and Tabriz and Orumieh, in the mostly ethnic Azeri northwest, which is Mousavi's birthplace.

As night fell, people ascended to their rooftops and chanted "God is Great!" in what is becoming a nightly ritual of protest against Ahmadinejad's reelection.

Most Iran experts do not expect the ultraconservative Guardian Council to revoke the results.

The council has the power to vet laws and candidates for fealty to Islamic principles. Led by the conservative 83-year-old Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, it's the same powerful body of jurists that barred thousands of moderate candidates from running in 2004 parliamentary elections and allegedly refused to grant permission to thousands of election observers from the campaigns of reformist candidates from monitoring voting stations in last week's election.

Khamenei's decision to review the vote followed a late-night meeting with Mousavi, who is a cousin, in what observers described as a tactical measure to buy time in the hopes that Mousavi and his supporters would cool down.

"The way people came out today after he announced this, nobody believes it's in good faith, because they have lost trust in him," said Ziba Mir-Hosseini, a professor of Middle East studies at the University of London.

Analysts said they assumed the protest would serve as a bracing shock to the country's Islamic establishment.

For years Khamenei and commanders of the Revolutionary Guard have openly warned of the West trying to use Iran's budding constellation of civil society groups to foment a "velvet revolution" of the style that swept away authoritarian regimes in Eastern Europe.

The intensified outpouring of anger followed Ahmadinejad's triumphant speech and news conference Sunday in which he labeled his opponents weeds and likened them to angry soccer fans leaving a stadium. Many protesters said the insults were the last straw.

daragahi@latimes.com

Mostaghim is a special correspondent.
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