There have been outbreaks of violence on the streets of Tehran, as supporters of the beaten Iranian presidential candidate protested over what they claim is a rigged election result.
Around 2,000 demonstrators backing the moderate former prime minister Mirhossein Mousavi clashed with those behind the winning candidate, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad. Elsewhere in Iran’s capital, riot police armed with batons moved to disperse another group. The challenger’s supporters are furious that their candidate was only credited with 34 per cent of the vote, when all the signals pointed to a close race. The supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called on Iranians of all sides to respect and support Ahmedinejad, urging the defeated camp to avoid ‘provocative behaviour.’ The ultra-conservative Ahmedinejad was officially declared re-elected as president with nearly 63 per cent of the vote. The losing candidate Mousavi quickly cried foul. There had been a record turnout, prompting authorities to extend voting time by four hours. Mousavi said the vote was a ‘dangerous charade’ and promised not to surrender to the behaviour of some officials that he said ‘will establish tyranny in Iran.’