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Iran's Ahmadinejad Scraps African Summit Trip


Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad

TEHRAN (Reuters) -- Iran's Mahmud Ahmadinejad has called off a trip to Libya for an African Union summit that would have given the hard-line president another chance to appear at an international forum after his disputed reelection.

A spokesman at Ahmadinejad's office said the visit had been canceled. He gave no reason. It would have been the president's second foray abroad since the June 12 poll set off Iran's most dramatic internal unrest since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

In a show of confidence, Ahmadinejad had attended a regional summit in Russia four days after the vote, ignoring huge street protests by supporters of losing candidates Mir Hossein Musavi and Mehdi Karrubi, who both say the election was rigged.

The Guardians Council, a supervisory body, on June 29 endorsed the election result and dismissed complaints of irregularities, saying a partial recount had shown these were baseless.

But Karrubi, a reformist cleric who came fourth in the poll, remained defiant, saying in a statement posted on his party's website that he viewed Ahmadinejad's government as illegitimate.

Karrubi and Musavi, a moderate former prime minister, have both called for the election to be annulled and held again.

'Continue To Fight'

"I don't consider this government legitimate," Karrubi said. "I will continue my fight under any condition by every means, and I'm ready to cooperate with pro-reform people and groups."

Security forces have crushed street protests and hard-liners have regained the upper hand in the world's fifth-biggest oil exporter, whose nuclear program has alarmed the West.

But Musavi and Karrubi continue to reject the election result in what amounts to an unprecedented challenge to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has upheld the outcome.

Karrubi, a white-bearded cleric who was close to Iran's revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, demanded the release of "thousands" of people arrested during the unrest.

"What is most important now is to preserve our revolutionary and political attitude and confront those who want to sideline us. We should all preserve our revolutionary unity," he added.
Iran Election Special
RFE/RL's Full Coverage
Following the disputed reelection of Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, supporters of Mir Hossein Musavi have taken to the streets to protest. Click here for news, blogs, and analysis of the presidential election and aftermath.
Iran Election Diary
Disputed Presidential Vote
There have been protests and clashes with police on the streets of Tehran following the disputed reelection of Mahmud Ahmadinejad. RFE/RL collects videos, photos, and messages on social-networking sites coming out of Iran to attempt to get a picture of what is happening inside the country. Click here
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