Clashes, Boycotts attend Certification of Ahmadinejad

The certification of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the winner of the presidential election in a special ceremony in Tehran set off demonstrations by thousands of protesters in downtown Tehran, according to the official Iranian Press TV news service. Police intervened, producing clashes that went on into the evening. Borzou Daragahi of the LAT writes that “Drivers stopped their cars in the middle of highways and in central squares, leaning on their horns in gestures of protest.” At 10 pm, the cries of ‘God is Great’ filled the night air, as the substantial segment of the population that declines to accept the announced outcome of the election voiced their dissatisfaction.

Ali Akbar Dareini and Brian Murphy at AP argue that Supreme Leader Khamenei declined to allow President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to kiss his hand (as he had at the ceremony in 2005, and that the president had to make do with kissing the ayatollah’s shoulder instead. Ahmadinejad had defied Khamenei for a few days when the latter ordered him to dismiss his first vice president.

The FT notes that former president Mohammad Khatami would normally have handed the certification of election from Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to the reelected president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Khatami, however, is furious that the election was stolen, and that his former vice president had been imprisoned and apparently tortured into a show trial confession. Khatami boycotted the ceremony, as did rival presidential contenders Mir Hosain Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi. (In fact, Karroubi was at a demonstration against the fixed election!) In fact, dozens of important political figures who would ordinarily have been there joined the boycott, according to the LAT.

CBS has video, including an interview with Haleh Esfandiary.

Meanwhile, the newspaper of reform candidate Mehdi Karroubi, the Etemad-e Melli, was warned by the regime over its “negative” election coverage.

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