Thursday, June 25, 2009
June 23: Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attends a meeting with lawmakers at the presidency in Tehran.
Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called on President Obama on Thursday not to interfere in Iranian affairs after the U.S. president said he was "appalled and outraged" by post-election violence, a news agency reported.
"Mr. Obama made a mistake to say those things ... our question is why he fell into this trap and said things that previously (former U.S. President George W.) Bush used to say," the semi-official Fars News Agency quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.
"Do you want to speak (with Iran) with this tone? If that is your stance then what is left to talk about," said Ahmadinejad. "I hope you avoid interfering in Iran's affairs and express your regret in a way that the Iranian nation is informed of it."
Hundreds of protesters and activists are believed to have been taken into custody since the June 12 vote, in which Iran's ruling clerics declared hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the winner by a landslide. The government has also set up a special court to deal with the cases of people arrested in more than a week of unrest and threatened harsh sentences.
Widespread protests erupted after the election, amid allegations of massive fraud. Since then, at least 17 people have been killed as authorities gradually intensified their crackdown.
The state-owned newspaper, Iran, reported Thursday that in addition to the 17, seven members of the pro-government Basij militia were killed in post-election clashes, and dozens more injured by weapons and knives. The report could not be independently verified.
Seventy university professors were detained in Iran in a widening government crackdown on protesters, according to a Web site affiliated with Iran's key opposition figure, Mir Hossein Mousavi, who says he was robbed of victory in a rigged presidential election.
The professors were detained on Wednesday, immediately after meeting with Mousavi, said the Kalemeh site, which is affiliated with the opposition leader. The report said it is not clear where the detainees were taken.
The professors detained Wednesday were believed to be among a group that has been pushing for a more liberal form of government. The detentions signal that the authorities are increasingly targeting members of Iran's elite.
In recent days, demonstrators have found themselves more and more scattered and struggling under a blanket crackdown that Mousavi's wife compared to martial law.
In clashes Wednesday near Iran's parliament, thousands of police crushed hundreds of Mousavi supporters, using tear gas and clubs.
Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has said the election of Ahmadinejad will not be reversed. He has said the nation's rulers would never yield to demands from the streets.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.