Mousavi addresses rally; Ahmadinejad puts off Russia visit
TEHRAN: In a stunning reversal of events following escalating street protests, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has ordered an investigation into alleged fraud during Friday’s presidential polls, declared won by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Iran’s state television said on Monday Ayatollah Khamenei had asked the Guardian Council, a high-level supervisory body of clerics, to probe the written allegations made by Mr. Ahmadinejad’s nearest rival, Mir Hosain Mousavi, of irregularities in the election process.
In the wake of turbulence in Tehran, Mr. Ahmadinejad has postponed his visit to Russia for a regional conference.
The elections, according to an official count, saw the President securing a landslide victory over Mr. Mousavi.
“Issues must be pursued through a legal channel,” Ayatollah Khamenei said. He “insisted that the Guardian Council carefully probe this letter [by Mr. Mousavi].”
Soon after the announcement, tens of thousands of Mr. Mousavi’s supporters, sporting their trademark green colour, poured into the Tehran streets and gathered at the Enghelab (Freedom) Square.
For the first time since Friday, Mr. Mousavi made his public appearance and addressed the rally. The authorities had earlier denied permission for the demonstration. No clashes with riot police have been reported.
Earlier, tensions were running high on the streets following violence and a massive show of strength on Sunday around the square by Mr. Ahmadinejad’s supporters.Related stories
Corrections and Clarifications
Enghelab (Freedom) Square, referred to in the sixth paragraph of a report"Khamenei orders probe into poll fraud charges" (June 16, 2009, page 1), inFarsi, means revolution and not freedom, which translates as azadi. Thereare two squares in central Tehran named Enghelab Square and Azadi Square.The rally, referred to in the report, passed through Enghelab (Revolution)square and ended at Azadi (Freedom Square) in Tehran.