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Iran's Supreme Leader to speak as protests co -

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Iran's Supreme Leader to speak as protests continue

The World Today - Friday, 19 June , 2009 12:21:00

Reporter: Meredith Griffiths

PETER CAVE: More mass demonstrations are expected in Iran today but this time it will be the
Government's supporters who are out in force.

The Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is due to address the nation for the first time since
last week's disputed election.

The venue he's chosen is Tehran University where students have reportedly come under attack from
pro-government militia.

Meredith Griffiths reports.

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: Of all the scenes of mass gatherings on the streets of Tehran this week, most
have been of Opposition supporters demanding a recount or a new vote.

But the followers of Mir-Hossein Mousavi have been told to stay off the streets today so as not to
appear to be backing the Government.

The country's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is due to give a speech after Friday prayers.
He backs the President's re-election and the authorities have been urging people to attend his
address in person, even arranging bus services.

The Ayatollah will be speaking at Tehran University which appears to have come under some kind of
attack one night this week. There's been no official account of what happened there, but some
academics say their students were attacked by members of the hardline Islamic Basij militia which
is sympathetic to the Government.

One young activist contacted by "The World Today" says the attack was fatal.

ACTIVIST: The regime (inaudible) of strategy has tried to disturb the peacefulness of the
gatherings by conducting horrible actions such as ransacking Tehran University dormitory again and
murdering some students and taking many others as prisoners.

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: An amateur video has been posted on Facebook that apparently shows widespread
damage to the inside of one of the university's buildings.

And another protester who spoke to "The World Today" says he also learned online that between two
and five students were killed.

ACTIVIST 2: I saw the pictures and I heard that the forces had some sort of guns and they started
shooting at students. Some of them got hit on their eyes or head and they died.

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: That raid has prompted 120 lecturers to resign from the university.

But Professor Sadegh Zibakalam says the violence will not stop the protest.

SADEGH ZIBAKALAM: On the contrary these attacks, these arrests make the people to become more
resolute and more determined.

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: Adelaide-based filmmaker Granaz Moussavi returned to her native country to vote
and is still in Tehran.

She says she's heard up to 25 people have died. Granaz Moussavi says some of the protests have been
bigger than those leading to the 1979 revolution.

GRANAZ MOUSSAVI: Yesterday when we were marching and just looking at even other people who were
just watching and not really marching but everybody was supporting. Like I was thinking to myself
that, well if this is not majority then what is majority of people?

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: Much of the media coverage has been coming from Tehran and this Iranian woman,
who didn't want to be named, says it's not necessarily reflective of the country as a whole.

IRANIAN WOMAN: In Tehran it's probably, like from what I've seen, like some who I have talked to,
the people that I have talked to, probably 50/50 the amount of supporters of Mousavi and
Ahmadinejad. But in other cities there is a lot more Ahmadinejad supporters.

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: You mentioned earlier that some of the western media portrayal could be more
dramatic than what you are seeing playing out in Tehran. We are hearing though, I mean even state
media said that tens of thousands people attended this latest protest. Isn't this unusual for Iran
to see such mass gatherings of people, as you say, without permission from the authorities? And it
has happened now several days in a row. Does that show you that there is something quite different
beginning to happen?

IRANIAN WOMAN: I am not sure yet because it has only been the supporters of one side really that
has been holding the rallies. What they have been demanded is for the vote to be recounted and
until the Guardian Council assesses this situation, I think probably they will still have these
doubts going in their heads.

But most probably after a report is issued with representatives of all four candidates, then people
will probably start to calm down a bit.

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: Later today European leaders are to set to condemn the use of violence against
protesters in Iran. In a draft statement they are urging Tehran to investigate the claims of
electoral fraud.

PETER CAVE: That report from Meredith Griffiths.