Tension remains high in Iran after a night of arson attacks and violence triggered by the country’s disputed presidential ballot.
Clashes have continued today and authorities reportedly arrested more than 100 members of a leading reformist party, including the brother of ex president Mohammad Khatami. An official says those questioned were warned not to increase tension and then released. Thousands of people clashed with police after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner. One resident in the capital said people should have only shouted slogans and not rioted. He said he saw people setting fire to banks. “Things explode when people are desperate,” he said, “but reaction to the election has not been handled well.” Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has told Iranians to respect the victory of Ahmadinejad, who denies claims of fraud. Observers say Khamenei’s declaration will almost certainly have to be respected by Ahmadinejad’s main rival Mirhossein Mousavi. The moderate former prime minister has described the outcome as a “dangerous charade”. The overnight demonstrations are said to have been the biggest since the 1979 Islamic revolution.