Page last updated at 07:17 GMT, Wednesday, 8 July 2009 08:17 UK

Ahmadinejad hails 'free' election

Photo grab of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad giving televised address - 7/7/2009
Mr Ahmadinejad said Iran had entered a new era with its election

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has defended his June re-election as the world's "most free" despite ongoing opposition claims that it was rigged.

In a televised address, Mr Ahmadinejad blamed foreign powers for trying to sabotage the vote.

He said "significant" changes would be made to his government, in the fields of employment, housing and culture.

Earlier, opposition leaders criticised the heavy security response to mass protests after the disputed election.

Runner-up Mir Hossein Mousavi's website published what it said was a joint statement backed by fellow defeated candidate Mehdi Karoubi and former President Mohammad Khatami, calling for the release of people detained during the post-election protests.

12 June Presidential election saw incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad re-elected with 63% of vote
Main challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi called for result to be annulled on grounds of electoral fraud
Street protests saw at least 17 people killed and foreign media restricted

More than 1,000 opposition supporters and prominent reformists were reportedly arrested in the aftermath of the election. Although many have since been released, it is possible hundreds remain in prison.

Mr Ahmadinejad called the vote "the most free election held anywhere in the world" and said Iran had entered a "new era".

He said: "The structure of the government should change based on the requirements of today... The changes in the government will be significant."

"We must respect people's feelings, especially the youth," said Mr Ahmadinejad.

But the Associated Press new agency reported that even during the address, people in parts of Tehran continued the nightly protests of shouting "death to the dictator" or "God is great" from rooftops.

The Iranian president looked unperturbed by the ongoing election dispute, but he knows he soon faces the challenge of presenting his new cabinet to a parliament quite likely to be hostile, says the BBC's former Tehran correspondent, Jon Leyne.

Print Sponsor

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2020 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific