Page last updated at 02:18 GMT, Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Iran opposition leader Karoubi acknowledges Ahmadinejed

Mehdi Karoubi
Karoubi maintains his belief that the president's re-election was rigged

Prominent Iran opposition leader Mehdi Karoubi has said he recognises Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as head of state, despite saying last year's poll was rigged.

Mr Karoubi had refused to accept the president's controversial re-election.

Mr Karoubi's son says his father still has doubts about the vote, but accepts the results following Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's endorsement.

Opposition activists are preparing for a new round of anti-Ahmadinejad protests on Revolution Day next month.

According to Iran's Fars news agency, Hossein Karoubi quoted his father as saying: "I am still of the same belief that the election was unhealthy and massively rigged.

"But since the [supreme] leader [Ayatollah Ali Khamenei] endorsed [Mr Ahmadinejad's victory], I believe that he is the head of the government, meaning he is the president."

However, his son later told the Associated Press that the Fars report had misquoted his father when using the word "president".

Hossein Karoubi said that his father had deliberately avoided saying "president" so as not to give complete legitimacy to Ahmadinejad's rule.

Medhi Karoubi, the ex-speaker of parliament, who came fourth in the disputed June presidential election, added: "I still maintain that there were problems [in the election]."

Widespread protests erupted in Iran after the election, with hundreds of anti-government demonstrators arrested.

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