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Tehran lashes out at West and media, as prote -

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Tehran lashes out at West and media, as protests continue

The World Today - Thursday, 18 June , 2009 12:10:00

Reporter: Meredith Griffiths

PETER CAVE: As protesters continue to organise mass rallies on the streets of Tehran, the Iranian
Government has accused the West of meddling in its internal affairs. Ambassadors have been summoned
to the Foreign Ministry in Tehran where officials have complained about impertinent comments and
intolerable interference.

And authorities are continuing a crackdown on the media - the Revolutionary Guard has warned it
will take action against what it calls "deviant" news websites deemed to be creating tension in
Iran.

Meredith Griffiths reports.

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: Even as Iran witnesses its largest display of civil disobedience in 30 years,
the President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says his landslide victory last Friday shows faith in his
government.

The Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has ordered an investigation into allegations of electoral
fraud but in his first public comment since the protests began, the Interior Minister Sadeq
Mahsouli attacked Western countries for questioning Iran's election results.

SADEQ MAHSOULI (translated): This is a great turning point in the 30-year history of the Islamic
Revolution. It is very hard for them to tolerate this and all their efforts are aimed at
questioning the authenticity of the election because Iran's democracy has challenged their
democracy.

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: He says Iran's election was far more democratic than other countries because
turnout was so high. European ambassadors - including a Swiss envoy who represents American
interests - have been summoned to the Foreign Ministry in Tehran.

Spokesman Hassan Qashqavi says they were told it's inappropriate to comment on Iran's internal
affairs.

HASSSAN QASHQUAVI: While the legal mechanisms is in full swing, in other words while the Guardian
Council is assessing the case, how can one express views in contradiction to international norms by
certain European officials and in no country do we know of cases where a foreign official makes
meddlesome or impertinent comments on the internal affairs of another country.

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: Media coverage has also been criticised. The Revolutionary Guard has warned it
will take action against what it calls "deviant" news websites if they don't delete reports deemed
to be creating tension in Iran.

And a pro-Government political commentator Dr Armani has appeared on state TV to say much of the
unrest is actually being organised by western media, such as the BBC and Voice of America.

DR ARMANI (translated): Those channels are openly playing the role of command headquarters for all
the unrest. These are channels such as BBC Persian, VOA and other anti-revolutionary networks. The
responsibility for them lies with the American Government.

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: But the White House rejects claims that it's interfering. The Secretary of
State, Hilary Clinton says Iranians should be able to pick their President but she has been careful
to avoid any appearance of endorsing either Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or his main rival Mir Hossein
Mousavi.

HILLARY CLINTON: The people of Iran deserve the right to have their voices heard and their votes
counted. The outcome of any election should reflect the will of the people and it is for the
Iranians to determine how they resolve this internal protest concerning the outcome of the recent
election.

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: While the diplomatic concerns are played out around the globe, in Iran,
security forces have been detaining scores of protesters and reformists.

Activist Hamid Reza Jalaipour says some of the country's brightest university students have been
arrested in the past few days.

HAMID REZA JALAIPOUR (translated): They have arrested our children because their only crime is to
support Mr Mousavi. There is no law and order in this country. Seven to eight men came to my house
in plain clothes, didn't show any identification card and took my son away. I am desperately trying
to find out where my son is.

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: In the latest show of defiance, six players in Iran's soccer World Cup
qualifier in South Korea last night wore green armbands signifying support for Mr Mousavi. The
match was broadcast live on Iranian TV and it was a huge blow for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who
is closely associated with the team; reportedly letting them use his presidential plane to get to
matches.

Mir-Hossein Mousavi has called on the authorities to release all those arrested recently and he has
told his supporters to attend a major gathering tonight in memory of those killed in the past few
days.

PETER CAVE: That report from Meredith Griffiths.