Iran Supreme Leader endorses Ahmadinejad for second term Christian Ehret at 12:58 PM ET
[JURIST] Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei [official profile; BBC profile] on Monday endorsed [press release] President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] for a new four-year term, saying that his election was a vote toward combating poverty, corruption, and discrimination. After praising Ahmadinejad as being a "hard-working and prudent man," Khamenei called for the administration to strictly follow the constitution and to consider the opposition's views. The leader classified the 85 percent turnout for the election as "clear proof" of the voters' dedication to the country and as hope for its improvement. According to the reports, opposition leaders boycotted [NYT report] Monday's ceremony.
Khamenei's comments follow a much-disputed election [JURIST news archive] in which opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi [IranTracker profile] lost to Ahmadinejad. On Saturday, Iran began the trials [JURIST report] of 100 detained protesters. Last week, Iranian officials announced that 140 people detained during post-election protests would be released [JURIST report] and that the judiciary would decide whether to try or release the approximate 500 others. In July, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran reported that the number of deaths during the protests exceeded government reports [JURIST report]. Khamenei granted a request [JURIST report] from the Guardian Council of the Constitution [official website, in Persian] in June to accept new complaints from the opposition although he maintained that he would not succumb to pressure over the results.
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