German foreign ministry notes irregularities in Iran election | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 17.06.2009
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German foreign ministry notes irregularities in Iran election

Protests and marches continued for the fifth day in Tehran and other cities around Iran, with more planned, since election results were announced early Saturday. Germany cited "irregularities" in the vote.

Protester yelling amid crowds

Mousavi has told his countrymen to mourn for slain protesters

A spokesman for the German foreign ministry has released a statement regarding the Iranian presidential election.

"The state secretary in the foreign ministry...has said that on the basis of our information, we believe that there were irregularities in the elections," said spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm.

Defeated Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi called on his supporters to hold a march and a day of mourning on Thursday for protesters slain in post-election clashes.

"As you know in recent days as a result of illegal and violent crackdown on critics and protestors over the presidential election results, a number of our compatriots were martyred and wounded," he said in a signed statement released on his website Ghalam News, and reported by AFP news service.

"I offer my sympathies to the families and call on everyone to show their condolences to the families on Thursday afternoon in any way possible, by gathering in mosques, or holding peaceful marches and using mourning signs."

"I will obviously take part in the ceremony," he said.

Media restrictions

woman filming protests with mobile phone

People record the events and post them online

Amid the protests, foreign media have been prohibited from leaving their bureaus, and in a latest round of detentions on Wednesday, a local newspaper editor and and a pro-reform activist were arrested in Tehran.

Authorities have rounded up dozens of reformists associated with the Mousavi camp since last week's disputed presidential election.

Sources said that activist Mohammadreza Jalaiepour, who has often been critical of President Ahmadijenad, and Saeed Laylaz, the editor of the business news daily Sarmayeh, were arrested Wednesday morning.

The media continue to be hampered in their efforts to report the situation in Iran. The Revolutionary Guards, an elite body that answers to the supreme leader, has told Iranian websites and bloggers to remove any materials that "create tension," or they will face legal consequences. It is the first public statement from the Guards since the crisis erupted over the election.

According to a report from AFP, the ISNA news service in Iran said the foreign ministry has accused some foreign media outlets of becoming the "mouthpiece of rioters."

It noted that the presence of foreign media in the country was a symbol of the transparency of the election.

"But some countries, in an uncalculated, hasty and rude reaction towards the illegal gatherings, have supported them contrary to democratic principles and regulations and have become the mouthpiece of the rioters' movement."

Local media publishes

The newspaper Etelat, whose director is appointed by Ayatollah Ali Khamanei, published pictures of both pro-Mousavi and pro-Ahmadijenad rallies. A moderate conservative daily Tehran Emrouz also published pictures of the rallies.

microphone held aloft at demonstration

Media struggles to cover Iran

Much of the information that is coming out of Iran is gleaned from items posted by Iranians on the web on social networking sites like Facebook, Flickr and via Twitter.

Late Monday, the US State Department had asked San Francisco based Twitter to put off scheduled maintenance, as it is a source of information. Twitter complied, pushing off maintenance until Tuesday afternoon.

Access to many websites also appears to be compromised, but networking sites like Twitter and Facebook remain accessible because their users connect via proxy servers that hide their identity.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry had also summoned the French and British ambassadors, as well as a senior Czech diplomat representing the European Union, to lodge a protest against "interventionist and insulting" statements about the election.

av/dpa/Reuters/AP/AFP
Editor: Jennifer Abramsohn

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