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Ahmadinejad's faction losing in Iran election deemed a sham by most reformists

TEHRAN - Iran, under intense Western pressure over its disputed nuclear program, on Saturday declared an initial turnout of 64 per cent in a parliamentary election shunned by most reformists as a sham.

Iran's Islamic clerical leadership is eager to restore the damage to its legitimacy caused by the violent crushing of eight months of street protests after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was re-elected in a 2009 vote his opponents said was rigged.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who endorsed the 2009 result, has since turned sharply against Ahmadinejad. Some early results from Friday's vote suggested the divisive president's supporters were losing ground in the 290-seat parliament.

His sister, Parvin Ahmadinejad, failed to win a seat in their hometown of Garmsar, the semi-official Mehr news agency said. Elsewhere, Khamenei loyalists appeared to be doing well.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Mar 4th, 2012 at 01:05:34 PM EST
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In Speech, Obama Urges Diplomacy and Warns Against `Loose Talk of War' - NYTimes.com

WASHINGTON -- President Obama gave a forceful defense of his administration's commitment to Israel's security on Sunday, using a speech to a pro-Israel lobbying group to take on critics on the Republican presidential campaign trail who have called for a harder American line to rein in Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Mr. Obama, speaking before a conference of the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee, declared that he would not tolerate a nuclear-armed Iran and would act -- militarily, if necessary -- to prevent that from happening.

"I do not have a policy of containment," Mr. Obama said, to applause from the huge crowd in the darkened, cavernous hall at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. "I have a policy to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. And as I've made clear time and again during the course of my presidency, I will not hesitate to use force when it is necessary to defend the United States and its interests."

But the president also made clear that he views diplomacy, and the policy of sanctions set in motion by the United States and Europe, as the West's best hope for getting Iran to stop short of pursuing a nuclear weapon. "Already, there is too much loose talk of war," Mr. Obama said on Sunday. "For the sake of Israel's security, America's security, and the peace and security of the world, now is not the time for bluster."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Mar 4th, 2012 at 01:06:30 PM EST
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