Ahmadinejad won polls after clean voting
A top Iranian reformist, accused of taking part in deadly riots after the June election, reportedly testified before a Tehran court yesterday that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's victory came after a clean vote.
In a blow to the opposition movement which claims that his re-election as president was because of massive vote rigging, Mohammad Ali Abtahi said there had been no fraud in the June 12 poll, the Fars news agency reported.
Abtahi, a close aide of reformist ex-president Mohammad Khatami, said the reformists and opposition leaders had also betrayed Iran's all-powerful supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the agency said.
"The 10th (presidential) election was different and it took two or three years to work on it. I think reformists took action to sort of restrict the (supreme) leader," Abtahi told a revolutionary court in which he and around 100 people face charges of rioting after the disputed poll.
"I say to all my friends and all friends who hear us, that the issue of fraud in Iran was a lie and was brought up to create riots so Iran becomes like Afghanistan and Iraq and suffers damage and hardship... and if this happened, there would be no name and trace of the revolution left."
Abtahi said opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, Khatami and powerful cleric and former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani had taken an "oath" not to abandon each other.
"Mousavi probably did not know the country, but Khatami, with all due respect... knew all the issues. He was aware of the capability and power of the leader, but he joined Mousavi and this was a betrayal," the cleric said, adding that Rafsanjani sought to avenge his 2005 presidential defeat to Ahmadinejad.
"It was wrong of me to take part in the rallies, but Karroubi told me that we cannot call the people onto the streets with such a meagre number of votes, so we had better go to the streets ourseleves to demonstrate our protest," he was quoted as saying.
Mehdi Karroubi, a reformist ex-parliament speaker, won just 333,635 votes or 0.85 percent in the presidential ballot. Abtahi was one of his advisers before the election.
Mousavi and Karroubi are spearheading a massive anti-Ahmadinejad campaign in which their supporters have staged street protests over the hardliner's win.
Around 30 people were killed and hundreds wounded in the post-poll violence, the most serious political crisis in the Islamic republic's 30-year existence.
After the election up to 2,000 protesters, political activists, reformists and journalists were arrested as hundreds of thousands of people publicly challenged the results.