Iran Opposition Seeks Fatwa Against Ahmadinejad

Mousavi spokesman tells of defeated candidate's plans after president's win.

June 14, 2009, 5:50 PM

DUBAI, June 14, 2006— -- A spokesman for Iranian presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi says his camp will keep pushing to change the results of Friday's election that gave incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad a landslide win.

"We are going to stay in the streets and ask the mullahs to give fatwas that Ahmedinejad is not our president. We are going to ask the Leader, through the will of the people, to change his mind," said Mostafa Makhmalbaf, who is speaking to the foreign press on Mousavi's behalf from his home in Paris.

"I don't think we can do a total Revolution in Iran but we can make some change," he told ABC News, describing what would be an unprecedented reversal for the Islamic Republic.

Mousavi's campaign claims the announced outcome, which gave Ahmedinejad 63 percent of the vote, was fraudulent.

Ahmedinejad and state election officials, some of them his appointees, have said the election was fair and accurate, and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei confirmed Ahmedinejad's landslide win on Saturday morning.

"The most magnificent contemporary election took place on Friday in Iran ... to us this [complaint] lacks any legal base, and to our nation as well it is without any legal value," Ahmedinejad said today at a victory press conference.

International observers have pointed to irregularities; the Eurasia Group, a political risk consultancy, noted a handful of concerns including a lack of data made available to support the overall count.

Makhmalbaf said the campaign urged governments around the world not to accept Ahmedinejad's election as president.

"He is a coup d'etat man," said Makhmalbaf, referring to the election results as "a state of fascism."

Mousavi has called for the results to be dismissed and a new vote taken. His camp has planned a rally for Monday, marching from Tehran's Engelab to Azadi Squares. Mousavi himself and former President Mohamed Khatami, his political backer, plan to attend the event.

Over the weekend, protests were met with a harsh response from riot police, who attacked demonstrators with batons and tear gas.

"People are like fire nowadays. Whatever Ahmedinejad does it will be worse. Saturday morning the city was in shock. Now in the coming days you'll see a change," Makhmalbaf said.

Makhmalbaf clarified rumors that Mousavi was under house arrest, saying there was no official detention but that police were keeping watch on his home, exerting enough pressure to keep him indoors.

Iran Opposition Says People 'Feel Betrayed'

Mousavi, a former prime minister of Iran during the 1980s, ran as a pro-reform centrist. He launched a campaign known as the Green Movement that attracted young supporters, especially women drawn to a platform of equal rights.

"Most of the people are trying to have their vote ... for peace in the international relationship, for changing the economy, more freedom for the young generation," he said.

"The Iranian people are angry that their vote was changed," he said. "They feel betrayed."

Ahmadinejad's victory has caused the worst unrest in Tehran in a decade as protestors battled police in the streets and shouted from the rooftops.

Seemingly unfazed, Iran's president likened the riled crowds' outbursts to "passions after a soccer match."

Protestors against the president complained that the Ahmadinejad supporters were just as fervent as the opposition but were not being terrorized by police tear gas and other harsh measures that the Mousavi supporters have faced.

Mousavi's charge that the elections, in which Ahmadinejad claimed victory early on, were fraught with corruption and fraud garnered sympathy from leaders around the world including U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.

Mousavi seems to have the backing of a large network of young and middle-class voters and could emerge as Iran's liberal voice to put pressure on Ahmadinejad's policies and confrontational tactics with the West.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said following Ahmadinejad's election that he was "very worried" about the situation in Iran and criticized what he called the "somewhat brutual recation" to the post-election protests.

Biden said today on NBC's "Meet the Press" that "we just don't know enough" about the happenings in Iran since Friday's vote.

"Is this the result of the Iranian people's wishes?" he asked. "The hope is that the Iranian people, all their votes have been counted, they've been counted fairly."

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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