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Candidate withdraws Iran voting complaint

Greek national Iason Athanasiadis (L), seen on June 12, 2009 in Qom city, was arrested on June 20, 2009 in Tehran, and charged with
Greek national Iason Athanasiadis (L), seen on June 12, 2009 in Qom city, was arrested on June 20, 2009 in Tehran, and charged with | License Photo

TEHRAN, June 24 (UPI) -- One of three presidential candidates who challenged Iran's June 12 election said he is withdrawing his complaint, Iran's state media reported Wednesday.

Mohsen Rezaei, a former Revolutionary Guards commander, officially captured less than 2 percent of the vote in the disputed election in which President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the landslide winner over his nearest challenger, moderate Mir Hossein Mousavi. Mousavi, Rezaei and reformist cleric Mehdi Karroubi alleged widespread vote-rigging immediately after the election, sparking large-scale protests.

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In withdrawing his complaint to the Guardian Council, which oversees Iran's elections, Rezaei reportedly cited national security as his reason, The Wall Street Journal said.

"The (current) political, social and security situation has entered a sensitive and decisive phase, which is more important than the election," Iran's state media quoted Rezaei's letter to the council as saying.

Security services have blanketed Tehran streets with uniformed police and riot troops, along with plainclothes security militias, dampening protests during the last three days. The demonstrations turned violent Saturday, when more than a dozen protesters were killed.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, said Wednesday authorities would not bow to pressure from opponents demanding a new election after allegations of electoral fraud, The New York Times reported.

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"I had insisted and will insist on implementing the law on the election issue," Iranian news agencies reported Khamenei as telling legislators. "Neither the establishment nor the nation will yield to pressure at any cost."

The Iranian government also has cracked down on foreign media reporting, and arrested or detained several foreign journalists along with Iranian reporters.

Khamenei Tuesday agreed to a Guardian Council request for five more days to investigate the 600-plus complaints of election irregularities. However, the council already ruled it would not annul the election.

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