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Page last updated at 21:25 GMT, Saturday, 25 July 2009 22:25 UK

Iran accused of 'Zionist' tactics

Protestors in Brussels hold posters of those they claim have been arrested and held in Iran for anti-government activities during a demonstration.
Protests in 80 world cities demanded the release of those detained in Iran

One of the defeated moderate candidates in Iran's presidential election, Mehdi Karroubi, has accused security forces of using harsher methods than Israel.

"The behaviour of Iran's security agents is worse than those of the Zionist in occupied Palestine," a statement on his website said.

Hundreds were arrested following protests against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election last month.

Activists around the world demonstrated against the crackdown on Saturday.

Mr Karroubi and other moderate candidates say the 12 June election was marred by massive fraud.

Iran's top election body, the Council of Guardians, has said the poll was free and fair. Officials results gave Mr Ahmadinejad more than 62% of the vote.

'In the gutter'

Days of streets protests against the election results were violently suppressed, drawing international condemnation.

A letter to Intelligence Minister Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei posted on Mr Karroubi's website says that "women were attacked with clubs and beaten and thrown in the gutters" during the protests.

"This is more painful in comparison to crimes committed by the Zionists against the oppressed people of Palestine... The Zionist aggressors have some reservations when it comes to confronting women."

A separate statement signed by Mr Karroubi, as well as leading moderate candidate Mir Hosein Mousavi and former President Mohammad Khatami, also criticised the crackdown.

It called the government's interrogation methods "a reminder of the dark era of the Shah".

The authorities say most of those arrested in the wake of the election have been released.

Meanwhile activists have taken part in a "global day of action" on Iran.

Protests supported by leading groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International were held in 80 cities - including Sydney, Seoul, Geneva, London, Paris, Brussels, Berlin, and Dublin.

The demonstrators urged the Tehran authorities to free those arrested. Many held pictures of people they say remain in jail.

Some placards showed Neda Agha Soltan, the 27-year-old woman whose death was captured on a video that was posted on the Internet.

In Amsterdam, Iranian Nobel Peace prize laureate Shirin Ebadi called on the international community to reject the outcome of the election.

In Bishkek, the capital of the central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan, nine human rights activists marching towards the Iranian embassy were detained and fined for illegally protesting.

Two days ago Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev won a second presidential term in an election criticised by foreign monitors.



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