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17 Jun, 2009 05:17

Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says limited recount possible

Iran's supreme religious leader says he doesn't object to a partial recount of votes in the disputed presidential election.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has met with envoys of the presidential candidates after several days of massive protests following election fraud claims by the loser.

The country is in political crisis, with huge demonstrations against the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – then followed by a massive rally supporting him.

Seven died in clashes with armed government militia as hundreds of thousands marched in the largest protests seen since Iran's Islamic Revolution in 1979.

On Tuesday, Khamenei called for calm on national television.

Protests began after defeated candidate and former Prime Minister, Mir-Hossein Mousavi, alleged electoral fraud.

The President, who won 65 per cent of the vote, denies the claim. Earlier, Khamenei declared Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's victory a "massive success" and a "divine blessing".

Dr. Walid Phares, from the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, says a possible recount may not solve the crisis alone.

“The recount of some of the votes is not going to satisfy the opposition. The crisis today in Iran is much bigger than it was in [the student protests of] 1999. It’s a systemic crisis. You have an alliance between people who were within the regime – that’s Mousavi and his supporters. But you also have a new generation that we haven’t seen in action before. The next weeks and months will tell whether the outcome of this election will help defuse the crisis or inflame it,” believes Dr. Phares.

Read also: Political situation in Iran ready to explode