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Tehran's Streets Quiet, Uneasy After Protests

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Tehran's Streets Quiet, Uneasy After Protests

Middle East

Tehran's Streets Quiet, Uneasy After Protests

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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From NPR News in Washington, this is WEEKEND EDITION. I'm Alison Stewart in for Liane Hansen.

The violence continued yesterday in Tehran. Iranian state media reports that at least 10 people were killed and others were injured as protestors and police clashed. It was the latest in a series of demonstrations over the reelection of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Joining us now for an update on the latest developments is NPR's Mike Shuster in Dubai. Thanks for being with us, Mike.

MIKE SHUSTER: You're welcome.

STEWART: What's happening right now?

SHUSTER: Well, as best as we can tell, not much. There have been no formal calls for demonstrations today. And there is no indication yet that people spontaneously are going into the streets. I think that the opposition movement and the supporters of Mir Hossein Mousavi, who believe he won the disputed election on June 12th, I think that those marchers are trying to sort out what their tactics are going to be now.

They went into the streets yesterday in smaller numbers. They were met by a large police presence. There's a good deal of violence on the street. Police used water cannon and tear gas, and they waded into crowds with batons, and they beat a lot of people - and some people were killed. But they essentially controlled the streets. And I think now the opposition is trying to sort out what to do next.

STEWART: Given what you've just described happen in the streets yesterday, despite some pretty dire warnings from the police and military, what's been the government's response?

SHUSTER: Well, the government has issued increasingly hardline and harsh statements, essentially threatening the demonstrators with more and more violence if they continue to go into the streets. Today the chief of police of Iran essentially issued a statement that said none of these demonstrations and rallies are legal. We have been restrained so far, he said. In fact, the police, despite the violence yesterday, have used largely nonlethal methods to try to control the crowds. But the police chief said today that they wouldn't be as restrained in the future, and that was a clear threat to use increasingly lethal force to control the situation.

STEWART: And what is Mr. Mousavi saying at this point? And do we know where he is?

SHUSTER: Well, we have to assume that he is in Tehran somewhere. He hasn't said much. And, in fact, I think some of the - I've heard comments that some of the people going to the streets are somewhat impatient with Mousavi and the other leaders of this. They wanted to know what these political leaders want, and they want some direction, is my sense of things. And right now they're not getting it.

STEWART: Mousavi has been calling for the elections to be annulled. With all of these developments, do you think there's any chance that will happen?

SHUSTER: It doesn't look like there's any chance at all. Mousavi called, has been calling for the annulment of the election all along - the holding of an entirely new election. He sent a letter calling for that to the Guardian Council yesterday, but they have essentially rejected that and so has Ayatollah Khamenei, the supreme leader. The Guardian Council did say in somewhat of a concession that they'd be willing to recount a random sampling of about 10 percent of the votes that were cast in the election. That's always not been acceptable to Mousavi and his supporters. So, there's essentially a legal standoff between Mousavi and the Guardian Council at this point.

STEWART: The Guardian Council is in charge of the election in the first place, right?

SHUSTER: That's right. The Guardian Council, in effect, oversees the election. They're the ones that qualify and disqualify candidates and put their rubber stamp on whether they thought it was a legitimate election or not.

STEWART: Mike Shuster joining us from Dubai covering all things going on in Iran. Thank you very much, Mike.

SHUSTER: You're welcome.

STEWART: To follow a live Twitter feed about Iran's election aftermath and to see a slide show of the activists and politicians who have been arrested, go to our blog

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