- The Washington Times - Monday, June 15, 2009

TEHRAN | Protesters chanting “God is great” grew angrier in Tehran and other cities Sunday as incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad insisted that he had won re-election fairly and police arrested more than 100 opposition supporters.

The regime mobilized thousands of Ahmadinejad supporters for a counterdemonstration in central Tehran’s Vali Asr Square — the scene of anti-Ahmadinejad riots Saturday — to cheer the president and lambaste his opponents, the West and its media.

“We don’t want an American [backed] revolution,” demonstrators shouted as they walked down a traffic overpass to join a sea of Ahmadinejad supporters waving red, green and white Iranian flags.

“Death to those against the Spiritual Leader” was another slogan, alongside “Mousavi bye-bye,” in a taunting retort to supporters of Mir Hossein Mousavi who had shouted “Mahmoud bye-bye” a few days before the Friday elections.

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The “spiritual leader” remark was a reference to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country’s paramount official. He endorsed Mr. Ahmadinejad’s re-election through a statement read on television but has not appeared before the public since the disputed vote.

Mr. Ahmadinejad earlier Sunday dismissed complaints by Mr. Mousavi of massive electoral fraud, and he compared street protests over the results to “problems at a soccer match.”

“A team wins and the other loses,” he told reporters.

But regime concerns over a third day of demonstrations mounted as truckloads of riot police crisscrossed the city and motorcycle units swarmed the streets.

Most of the protests took place at university dormitories, a few residential areas and the expensive northern suburbs that climb the foothills of the Alborz mountain chain. There were fewer demonstrators and the violence was more localized Sunday than Saturday. In Vali Asr Avenue, the longest street in Tehran and the spine of the protests, motorists practiced passive resistance, driving up the crowded avenue shortly after sunset to a cacophony of horns.

Members of the Basij, a paramilitary group, stood in the middle of the streets with sticks in their hands threatening motorists honking their horns.

“The Internet is not working. There is no SMS and Facebook is filtered, but news of protests is being communicated by spray painting on walls,” said Laleh, an arts student at Amir Kabir University who would give only her first name, as she leaned out her window flashing victory signs. “It’s like a revolution.”

Mr. Mousavi, the defeated candidate, said on his Web site that he had formally asked the Guardian Council, a legislative body, to cancel the election result.

He also urged that demonstrations on behalf of his candidacy continue.

“I urge you, Iranian nation, to continue your nationwide protests in a peaceful and legal way,” he said.

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