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Karrubi Vows Iran Opposition Will Keep Up Protest

MADRID (Reuters) -- Defeated Iranian presidential candidates Mehdi Karrubi and Mir Hossein Musavi will keep up protests against the government of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, Karrubi has been quoted as saying.

Karrubi, the most liberal of Ahmadinejad's three opponents in the disputed June 12 election, has been vocal in his complaints of irregularities in the process.

"Neither Musavi nor I have withdrawn. We will continue to protest and we will never collaborate with this government. We will not harm it, but we will criticize what it does," Karrubi said in an interview with the "El Pais" Spanish daily.

He attributed recent unrest and street protests in the country squarely on the way authorities handled the election.

"Quite honestly, if the authorities had acted in a different way, we would never have had these problems, because the majority of those protesting only did so for that reason," Karrubi said.

The Iranian people want a solution to the unrest and stability as soon as possible, he said, adding that both he and Musavi are concerned about the killing of street protesters.

Karrubi is in favor of negotiations with the United States and other Western governments to attempt to open up the channels of communication with Iran.

"The most beneficial thing for the Iranians is negotiations. Nobody benefits from our ongoing problems with the United States," Karrubi said.