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Iran Opposition Leaders Call Off Plans For Mass Rally

Mir Hossein Musavi, who has described President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's government illegitimate because of what he says was massive vote fraud
Iranian opposition leaders have canceled plans for a rally to mark the anniversary of last June's bitterly disputed presidential election on June 12.

The two main opposition leaders, Mir Hossein Musavi and Mehdi Karubi, said they had received no permission to stage what they had vowed would be a peaceful commemoration of last year's events.

The reformist "Kaleme" website carried their statement late on June 10, just two days before the planned gathering.

A year after authorities declared the reelection victory of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, the reformist Green Movement had hoped to bring its supporters back onto the streets to show continued opposition to a government it says won through vote rigging.

Obama Hails Iranians' 'Courage'

U.S. President Barack Obama responded by hailing the "courage of the Iranian people" and calling on the international community to support Iranians' struggle for "freedom," according to AFP.

"The courage of the Iranian people stands as an example to us and it challenges us to continue our efforts to bend the arch of history in the direction of justice," Obama said in a statement.

"It is the responsibility of all free people and free nations to make it clear that we are on the side of those who seek freedom, justice and dignity, as surely as hope and history are," the same agency quoted Obama as saying.

The U.S. president said he looked forward to a time when "the Iranian government will represent and foster rather than fear the aspirations of its own people."

He said the 2009 election would be "remembered for how the Iranian government brutally suppressed dissent and murdered the innocent, including a young woman left to die in the street."

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called "regrettable" the Iranian opposition's cancellation of antigovernment protests.

AP quoted the U.S. envoy to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe, as saying on June 10 that Iran continues to fail to safeguard freedom of expression and assembly, and authorities discriminate against minorities.

Dohahoe urged Iran to "uphold all of its international commitments and to account honestly for its human rights record, particularly over the past year," the agency said.

compiled from agency reports