'Iran won't annul results of elections'

Official denies report Iranian ambassador to be recalled from UK; Russia says it respects results.

Rafsanjani 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
Rafsanjani 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
Iran's state TV on Tuesday reported that the country's top electoral authority had ruled out annulling the results of the disputed June 12 election in which President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner. A spokesman for the Guardian Council, Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei, was quoted by Iran's state-run English language Press TV as saying that the organization had found "no major fraud or breach in the election." "Therefore, there is no possibility of an annulment taking place," he said. The announcement came despite the fact that the same Guardian Council admitted Sunday that there had been some irregularities in the election. Council spokesperson Abbas-Ali Kadkhodaei had said that "statistics provided by the candidates, who claim more than 100% of those eligible cast their ballot in 80-170 cities are not accurate - the incident happened in only 50 cities." With Tuesday's announcement, Iran's regime appeared to be closing another door to compromise. Iran's supreme leader had already praised Ahmadinejad as the winner and ordered post-election protesters off the streets. On Monday, the feared Revolutionary Guard threatened a crackdown if protests persist (story continues under clips below). Watch Iranian policemen beat up a protester: More from youtube: Meanwhile, an Iranian Foreign Ministry source denied that Teheran had decided to recall its ambassador from London over accusations that Britain was meddling with Iran's internal affairs following the disputed presidential vote, AFP reported Tuesday. Earlier, the official IRNA news agency had quoted a member of parliament as saying that the ambassador would be recalled for consultation "to examine the attitude of the British government." In a boost for the embattled regime, Russia said Tuesday that it respected the declared election result. The US and many European countries have refrained from challenging the election outcome directly, but have issued increasingly stern warnings against continuing violence meted out to demonstrators. In a statement on its Web site, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that disputes about the vote "should be settled in strict compliance with Iran's Constitution and law" and were "exclusively an internal matter." Ahmadinejad's main challenger, Mir Hossein Mousavi, has charged the election was a fraud and insists he is the true winner. His followers have been staging near-daily rallies. In recent days, the government has intensified a crackdown on the protests. On Monday night, after yet another day of bloody protests in Teheran in which police reportedly attacked hundreds of demonstrators with tear gas and fired in the air to disperse the rallies, the country's regime found support for their actions in their regional ally, Syria. "Gambling on the fall of the Iranian regime is a sure loss," said Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem. "The Iranian people realized their right to vote at the ballot box," he continued. "They must not express their desire to save lives in Iran by inciting demonstrations." Moallem also hit back at world criticism against Iran, saying that the "international community must come to terms with the reality" of the Islamic revolution. Earlier Monday, hundreds of anti-riot police quickly dispersed a demonstration involving some 200 Mousavi supporters. It came as Iran's Revolutionary Guard threatened to crush any further opposition protests and warned demonstrators to prepare for a "revolutionary confrontation" if they take to the streets again. The country's most powerful military force ordered demonstrators to "end the sabotage and rioting activities" and said their resistance was a "conspiracy" against Iran. A statement posted on the Guard's Web site warned protesters to "be prepared for a resolution and revolutionary confrontation with the Guards, Basij and other security forces and disciplinary forces."