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Police Unleash Force On Rally in Tehran

After a hotly contested election pitting President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad against leading challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi, the government declared Ahmadinejad the winner on June 13. Mousavi's supporters took to the streets to protest the results, and were met with harsh security crackdowns.

Mousavi, meanwhile, renewed his call to cancel the results of the election in an open letter published on his campaign Web site. He said that "disgusting measures" to rig the election were planned months ahead of the balloting.

"All these counts of irregularities plus many others that were mentioned in previous letters . . . are reasons to cancel the election nationwide," Mousavi wrote in a letter to the Guardian Council, a group charged with certifying elections.

"The result was reversed," Mousavi wrote. He gave six detailed complaints to the council, which had invited him to present his case Saturday morning. He cited in particular the use of mobile ballot boxes, which are voting booths moved around on the backs of pickup trucks.

"The number of mobile ballot boxes was increased significantly, and there were no monitors present at those stations," Mousavi said. "Our representatives were not allowed to be present at the mobile ballot boxes during transportation. Considering the fact that there were 14,000 of those, that gave them the ability to carry out any violation of any sort.

"The ballot boxes were sealed before we could verify that they were not filled up before election day," he wrote.

Mousavi, whose whereabouts Saturday were not immediately known, complained of a large number of extra voting slips even though they quickly ran out in Tehran on election day.

"There were 45.2 million eligible voters, and 59.6 million voting slips with serial numbers were printed," he said. "A day before the elections, there were millions more printed without serial numbers. The fact that there were so many extra voting slips itself is questionable. There is no way we could have run out of voting slips so early into the elections."

Branigin reported from Washington. Staff writer Lexie Verdon in Washington and correspondent Edward Cody in Paris contributed to this report.


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