Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has formally endorsed the second presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. However, many of Iran’s opposition figures and political heavyweights shunned Monday’s ceremony. The defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, who claims the June 12 election was rigged, was one of those who did not attend. He has said the new government is illegitimate. Former presidents Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammed Khatami, who backed Mousavi during the election, also didn’t show up.
The ceremony came as the trials continued of about a 100 pro-reform supporters accused of fermenting post election unrest. They face a range of charges, including acting against national security, which is punishable by death. Leading reformers have denounced it as a show trial, claiming some of the defendants made confessions under torture. The aftermath of June’s disputed poll saw large-scale violence plunging Iran into its worst crisis since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.