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Iranian MPs snub President's party -

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Iranian MPs snub President's party

Broadcast: 25/06/2009

Reporter: John Stewart

Media reports from Iran have said more than one third of the country's MPs snubbed an invitation to
celebrate President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election.


TONY JONES, PRESENTER: More than a third of Iran's MPs appear to have snubbed an invitation to
celebrate President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's election win.

Local media reports say that 290 MPs were invited to the victory party but 105 didn't turn up.

The split may be a sign that the harsh crackdown on protesters is creating divisions within Iran's
political leadership.

John Stewart reports.

JOHN STEWART, REPORTER: According to Iran's state controlled television service the streets of
Tehran are calm and under control.

STATE-RUN PRESS TV: A number of people gathered in front of Iran's Parliament to protest the
results of the election have been dispersed by security forces.

JOHN STEWART: But the latest images from Tehran posted on YouTube tell a very different story. With
most foreign media forced out of Iran, these pictures can't be authenticated but they're backed by
eyewitness accounts of an increasingly brutal crackdown by the authorities.

A distraught woman who spoke to CNN said protesters had been attacked as they went to an Opposition

IRANIAN WOMAN: All of a sudden some 500 people with clubs and wood, they came out of here. They had
masks and they pulled into the streets and they started beating everyone and they tried to beat
everyone on Sadi Bridge and throwing them off of the bridge.

JOHN STEWART: The crackdown appears to be working, with reports that fewer people are taking to the

IRANIAN WOMAN: They were beating people, like hell. This was a massacre. They were trying to... and
this was exactly a massacre. You should stop this, you should stop this.

JOHN STEWART: News agencies are reporting that since the election Iran has jailed more than 140
political activists, including 70 academics, and at least 17 people have been killed.

The Iranian Government is blaming outside interference and Western-backed infiltrators for the

ALI FAZLI, REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS: The masterminds of this sedition who were captured in team houses
and documents discovered shows their link with Western, European and Zionist backers.

JOHN STEWART: There has also been no sign of Opposition Leader Mir Hossein Mousavi for several days
now. Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei says neither the system nor the people will give in
to pressure.

But some clerics are beginning to speak out against the Supreme Leader. Dispute being under house
arrest, one of the top Iranian dissident clerics, Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, warned the
nation's rulers that their continued suppression of protests could destablise the regime. Some
commentators believe the ultimate challenge to the Supreme Leader will not come from the streets
but from within.

John Stewart Lateline.