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Lashing out

June 25, 2009

President Ahmadinejad warned the US on Thursday to stop meddling in Iranian affairs. As Tehran is widening its crackdown on the opposition, 70 university professors were detained after meeting with opposition figures.

Iranian President Ahmedinejad
Ahmedinejad warns that soon "there will be nothing left to talk about"Image: AP

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has renewed his criticism of Western governments who have condemned Tehran's handling of the disputed presidential elections.

On Thursday the Iranian President lashed out against his US counterpart Barack Obama, warning that comments from Washington could torpedo any future dialogue between the two countries.

"Will you use this language with Iran? If this is your stance, there will be nothing left to talk about," Ahmadinejad was quoted by the semi-official Fars news agency, referring to the US president.

Obama has recently has ramped up his previously muted criticism, saying he was "appalled and outraged" by the crackdown on protesters. Ahmadinejad reacted by comparing Obama to his predecessor Georg W. Bush.

Opposition demonstrators in Tehran
Tehran is not amused about Western backing for the oppositionImage: AP

"Mr Obama made a mistake to say those things," he said. "Our question is why he fell into this trap and said things that previously Bush used to say."

The turmoil has dimmed prospects for Obama's outreach to Iran over its nuclear program. Washington has withdrawn invitations to Iranian diplomats to attend US Independence Day celebrations on July 4, stalling efforts to improve ties with Tehran.

Mourning ceremony called off as crackdown continues

Meanwhile, one of three defeated Iranian presidential candidates, Mehdi Karroubi, has cancelled a Thursday ceremony mourning the deaths of at least 17 protesters killed in post-election unrest.

Karroubi's website says he was unable to secure a venue for the event, and that he hopes to hold the ceremony next week instead.

Iran's interior ministry has banned all gatherings by opposition groups, who are protesting what they call fraud in the election that returned President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power.

In related news, an online statement from another key opposition figure, Mir Hossein Mousavi, says that 70 academics and representatives from a number of universities were arrested after meeting him on Wednesday.

Hundreds of protesters and activists are believed to have been taken into custody since the June 12 elections. The elections showed incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad winning a landslide victory, but the results are widely disputed.

About 20 people have reportedly been killed in the post-election violence, with opposition demonstrators demanding the vote to be cancelled.

Editor: Jennifer Abramsohn