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Iran says 10 protesters killed in Saturday's post-election riots

RIA Novosti


MOSCOW, June 21 (RIA Novosti) - At least 10 protesters were killed in riots in Iran's capital on Saturday, as thousands of people gathered on the streets to continue protests against the disputed election, state media reported on Sunday.

The state English-language TV channel Press TV said on Sunday that the unrest in Tehran has been brought under control, and the situation is now calm.

Supporters of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, defeated in the June 12 election by hardline incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have been protesting against alleged ballot fraud. Mousavi has publicly accused Ahmadinejad of cheating to secure his victory, and criticized Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for failing to intervene and order an election re-run.

Police fought back protesters with water cannons and tear gas on Saturday afternoon, as crowds gathered on Enghelab Square in central Tehran, defying an official ban on protests. Eyewitnesses say the riots have been the worst since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

State media said rioters attacked a military post, set fire to two filling stations, and torched a mosque.

Last week, at least seven people were killed in street protests, and many more injured, according to official reports. Casualty numbers cannot be verified by foreign media due to heavy restrictions on reporters.

In his sermon for Friday prayers, Khamenei rejected the possibility that vote rigging affected the result of the presidential election and said that people's opinions should be expressed through elections, not on the street.

He insisted that Ahmadinejad's margin of victory, at more than 11 million votes, was too great for the election to have been stolen.

Official results gave the incumbent 63% of the vote, and reformist challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi 34%.

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