Posted June. 18, 2009 08:14,
The political situation in Iran is growing more tense over the disputed result of the countrys latest presidential election, the Associated Press said yesterday.
Thousands of Iranians supporting reformist candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi took to the streets in large demonstrations for the fourth straight day Tuesday, while those backing incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did the same.
Former Iranian Prime Minister Mousavi alleges that the election was rigged to get Ahmadinejad reelected.
Mousavi supporters protested the election results on a 1.5-kilometer street linking a square in central Tehran and the headquarters of Irans state-run television station from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday.
Mousavi did not appear at the rally, but urged through his Internet homepage that his supporters not resort to violence.
Supporters of Ahmadinejad also held a rally at a nearby square, denouncing the pro-Mousavi protesters. While the rallies ended peacefully with no physical clashes, the chasm of conflict between them deepened.
Expressing deep concerns over the Iran situation, U.S. President Barack Obama told CBS that he will pursue tough diplomacy with Iran regardless of the election result.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, however, openly denounced the result as a fraud.
Tehran is also cracking down on news coverage in Iran by domestic and foreign reporters. According to Reporters without Borders, an international media freedom watchdog, at least 10 Iranian journalists have been arrested.
The New York Times said pro-reform citizens are waging cyber demonstrations by maintaining contact through such Internet sites as Twitter, Facebook and Youtube.
They are also sending news, photos and videos of the protests to the outside world.
On Twitter, some 30 instances per minute of election-related news are posted.
Washington is also helping Iranians provide and share election information through the U.S.-based short message service provider.
Operators of Twitter planned to halt its service in Iran June 15 for a regular system checkup but kept it running after receiving an e-mail from the U.S. State Department.
Reuters said more than 23 million of Irans 70 million population have Internet access, while Mousavi has about 48,000 supporters on his Facebook.
BBC international news editor Jon Williams said gone are the days when the Iranian government could control the flow of information.