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EU and Germany air concerns about Iran's re-election of Ahmadinejad

The European Union and Germany have expressed concerns about alleged irregularities in Iran's presidential election, as supporters and opponents of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rally on the streets of Tehran.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addresses supporters

Official results show Ahmadinejad won more than 62 percent of the vote

Using some of the strongest language heard yet from an EU official, Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier asked Iran to clarify its position on the election.

"I have today, with some European colleagues, already told Iran to immediately make clear whether the election results announced can be taken seriously or not," he said.

Steinmeier also said that he had summoned Iran's ambassador to the foreign ministry to discuss the "brutal actions" Iran's security forces have used against protesters.

"We are looking towards Tehran with great concern at the moment. There are a lot of reports of electoral fraud." said Steinmeier in an interview with Germany's public broadcaster, ARD.

EU officials also expresssed their reservations about the results of the polling in Tehran.

"The Presidency is concerned about alleged irregularities during the election and post-election violence that broke out immediately after the release of the official election results on 13 June 2009," the EU Presidency said in a statement.

"The Presidency expects the new government of the Islamic Republic of Iran will take its responsibility towards the international community and respect its international obligations," it said, adding that the EU still hoped to resume dialogue with Tehran over its disputed nuclear program.

Correspondents hampered in reporting efforts

On Sunday, the news division heads of German television networks ZDF and ARD filed a protest with the Iranian ambassador about restrictions placed on their reporters.

According to a joint letter sent by Thomas Baumann of ARD and Nikolaus Brender of ZDF, their correspondents were deliberately hampered in their ability to report the events from Tehran.

They specifically mentioned ARD correspondent Peter Metzger, who was prevented from leaving his hotel room in Tehran, and ZDF reporter Halim Hosny along with his staff who had been forbidden to report details of the election.

Disputed Results

Official results show that President Ahmadinejad was re-elected with more than 62 percent of the vote.

Defeated candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi formally appealed against the result on Sunday to the legislative body, the Guardian Council, a statement on his website said.

"Today, I have submitted my official formal request to the council to cancel the election result," Mousavi said in the statement. "I urge you Iranian nation to continue your nationwide protests in a peaceful and legal way."

Mousavi urged senior Iranian clerics to speak out against the "rigged" election, alleging widespread irregularities in the polls.

Critics of the poll say many people had not been able to vote and that there had been a lack of ballot papers.

Mir Hossein Mousavi

Mir Hossein Mousavi appealed to his supporters to reject violence

Mousavi also accused the authorities of blocking text messaging, which his campaign used to reach young, urban voters.

Ahmadinejad defended his victory at a mass rally in Tehran on Sunday, saying the election was fair.

"Some inside or outside Iran have come out and said the elections have been distorted. Where is the distortion in the election?"

"Their (Western) standpoint is if the candidate they propagated does not win, then there has definitely been cheating," he said.

Post-election violence

Protests against Ahmadinejad's landslide election victory turned violent on Saturday as supporters of reformist presidential candidate, Mir Hossein Mousavi, clashed with police in the Iranian capital in the worst scenes of violence since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Riot police patrolled the streets of Tehran as thousands of opposition supporters took part in demonstrations in Iran's capital, defying police warnings.

Iranian election officials said on Saturday that incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won the election by a clear majority, getting twice as many votes as his closest challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi.

The Islamic Republic's election commission said Ahmadinejad had won more than 62.6 percent of votes against 33.7 percent for Mousavi in a record 85 percent turnout.

A masked supporter of Iranian reformist presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi walks past burning rubbish

Mousavi supporters clash with police in the Iranian capital

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Iranians to respect Ahmadinejad's election, who assumed power four years ago on a pledge to revive the values of the 1979 Islamic revolution. He quickly drew international condemnation after refusing to halt Iran's nuclear program, rejecting Western charges that it was aimed at building an atomic bomb. He also denied the Holocaust and called for Israel to be wiped from the map.

Editor: Andreas Illmer

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