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Iran council rules out new elections following fraud investigation

[JURIST] Iranian authorities announced on Tuesday that they would not hold a new presidential election, maintaining that there was no evidence of any major fraud or irregularity in the contested results [BBC backgrounder]. Following its investigation [JURIST report], the country's Guardian Council for the Constitution [official website, in Persian] rejected protesters' requests [BBC report] to abandon the results and start over, asserting that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] won the election by such an overwhelming majority that any minor inconsistencies would not have meant victory for reform candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi [IranTracker profile]. Although the Guardian Council conceded that the number of votes exceeded the number of voters in 50 voting districts, they explained that the imbalance could be due to voters' ability to vote anywhere in the country. Protesters are reportedly discussing other ways to oppose the election, including strikes and acts of civil disobedience. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official webpage] urged authorities [statement text] on Monday to respect the civil and political rights of protesters.

State media reported on Monday that 10 people were killed and 457 were arrested [JURIST report] during the weekend's protests. Authorities stated that those arrested would be dealt with [Reuters report] by the court system. Last week, Iran's spiritual leader and highest authority, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei [official profile; BBC profile], who previously ordered an investigation [JURIST report] into alleged voter fraud, called for an end to the demonstrations [CNN report] and asserted that the election was not manipulated. World leaders and human rights groups have called the arrests a form of political repression [JURIST report].

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