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June 22, 2009 at 10:00 PM
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Protesters gather in vigil for victim

TEHRAN, June 22 (UPI) -- Protesters, defying Iranian government warnings, converged on Tehran's Haft-e Tir Square, greeted by hundreds of Basij militia and riot police, witnesses said.

At least six people were arrested at the square, CNN reported, saying it was unable to confirm the account independently because of strict restrictions placed on foreign media coverage of the backlash against the disputed June 12 election in which President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the landslide winner over his nearest challenger, moderate Mir Hossein Mousavi.

Internet postings on social network sites Twitter and Facebook said the gathering was a vigil for a female protester identified as Neda, whose death was caught on camera during violence Saturday and has become a rallying point for protesters.

Iran's Revolutionary Guard Monday warned protesters who "disturb the peace and stand up to security forces" will be considered a threat to the regime," Iran's state-run news agency Islamic Republic News Agency reported. "The guardians of the Islamic revolution and the courageous Basiji ... are determined to act strongly to return peace and tranquility to society ... and to clean the country of these plotters and hooligans."

Protests have occurred daily since the election and there have been violent clashes between protesters and riot police for the past several days. Iranian news sources reported 13 people died Saturday. CNN quoted hospital sources as putting the number of dead at 19 while other unconfirmed sources indicated the toll was as high as 150.

Tehran's prosecutor general's office said it has begun an investigation into Saturday's deaths, Iran's government-funded Press TV reported. Iranian police blamed the deaths on armed terrorists who infiltrated the rallies.

Tehran Police Chief Azizallah Rajabzadeh said Monday his officers played no role in the deadly violence Saturday because they weren't authorized to use weapons against people, the Iranian broadcaster reported.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has declared the election legitimate, but the country's top elections officials acknowledged Monday that there were flaws. Officials said the number of votes counted in 50 cities exceeded the number of voters, The New York Times reported, citing a state media report.

The officials said the flaws did not violate the law and would not alter the official election result.


Bombings shake Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan, June 22 (UPI) -- A string of blasts killed at least a dozen people and injured dozens more in Afghanistan Monday, officials said.

Senior police officer Abdul Wali Tofan said two suicide bombers, one on a motorbike and one on foot, detonated their deadly devices in Khost province, leaving seven civilians dead and about 40 wounded, Xinhua reported. Another suicide attack reportedly killed three Afghan soldiers and injured five other people, the Chinese news agency said.

"A man driving an explosive-laden car exploded next to a convoy of Afghan troops in Jalai district on Herat-Kandahar highway this morning killing three soldiers," Niaz Mohammad Sarhadi, the governor of Jalai, told Xinhua.

Another explosion at a weapons warehouse in Nangarhar province killed at least two civilians and wounded 20 others.


D.C. trains collide, at least 6 dead

WASHINGTON, June 22 (UPI) -- One Metrorail commuter rear-ended another in the Washington metro area Monday, killing at least six people, officials said.

Scores of others were injured in the 5 p.m. EDT collision of two six-car Red Line trains between the Fort Totten and Takoma Park stations near the D.C.-Maryland line, The Washington Post reported.

The trains were both headed in the same direction and collided with such force that the front end of one ended up atop the rear of the other, officials said. One of the fatalities was the operator of the trailing train, the newspaper said.

D.C. Fire Chief Dennis L. Rubin said an estimated 70 people were injured -- six of them critically. Emergency crews cut apart the trains to get victims out.

The cause of the accident had not been determined. Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said something "obviously … went terribly wrong for two trains to be on the same track."

Metro General Manager John Catoe said the leading train had stopped because a third train was stopped at the next platform and the trailing train "for reasons we do not know, plowed into that train."

Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty told reporters it was the deadliest crash in the history of the D.C. Metrorail system.


Earthquake sways Anchorage area

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, June 22 (UPI) -- The area around Anchorage, Alaska, was shaken Monday by an earthquake that seismologists said had a magnitude of 5.4.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injury, though residents posting to the Anchorage Daily News Web site said the shaking was definitely felt.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centered outside the town of Willow and about 92 miles northwest of Anchorage. It struck shortly before noon.

The Daily News said the quake, which had originally been pegged at 5.7, was followed by a 4.2 aftershock.

The USGS also reported a subsequent earthquake in the Aleutian Islands measuring 5.5.

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