'Suppression of democratic voice will disintegrate Iran'

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Beirut (Lebanon), July 13 (ANI): The political and social rifts that have opened in Iran because of the disputed presidential general elections and its bloody aftermath could lead to the nation's "disintegration", a presidential candidate has warned.

In a statement published on his website, Mohsen Rezai called for reconciliation and spoke about the danger of "imprisoning" the legacy of the Islamic Revolution in divisive and shortsighted politics.

Although his message remained nonpartisan, Rezai gave subtle hints that the government response after the election had been unfair, and he urged protesters to continue their work in legal and non-violent ways, The New York Times reports.

A former chief of the elite Revolutionary Guards, Rezai had earlier said that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's landslide victory was a result of ballot-rigging.

He later withdrew his legal challenge to the results, citing the need for unity.

Rezai's statement is the latest sign that opposition to Ahmadinejad - despite the violent crackdown on street protests and stern warnings by government leaders - has not faltered.

On Sunday, Iran's Expediency Council delivered a victory to opposition supporters by upholding a law that would prevent government officials from simultaneously serving on the powerful Guardian Council, which is responsible for approving candidates and certifying election results.

Opposition candidates and their supporters complained that the Guardian Council could not play a neutral role while some of its members were officials deeply loyal to Ahmadinejad.

The Expediency Council's ruling was also a clear victory for the former president, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, now the council's president and a major supporter of Mir Hussein Moussavi, the leading electoral challenger to Ahmadinejad. (ANI)

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