/ languages

Choisir langue

Iran - protests

Protests in Tehran as Ahmadinejad sworn in for second term

Article published on the 2009-08-05 Latest update 2009-08-05 15:00 TU

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reads the oath of office during his swearing-in ceremony in Tehran, 5 August 2009(Photo: Reuters)

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reads the oath of office during his swearing-in ceremony in Tehran, 5 August 2009
(Photo: Reuters)

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran has been sworn in for a second term, claiming his government will continue to "resist oppressors" and uphold the rights of common Iranians.

During his address, a force of around 1,000 riot police and Basij volunteer Islamic militiamen reportedly used tear gas to disperse protesters in Tehran’s Baharestan square outside parliament.

Although claiming that his re-election is the "start of major change in Iran and in the world", Ahmadinejad continued the defiance of western powers that marked his first term in power. He said Iran will continue to "resist oppressors and try to correct the global discriminatory mechanisms in order to benefit all the nations of the world".

He also dismissed America’s refusal to congratulate him on his re-election, saying that the US only wanted democracy on its own terms.

"You should know that nobody in Iran is awaiting your congratulations. Iranians will neither value your scowling and bullying, nor your smiles and greetings."

Prominent opposition leaders were absent from the ceremony, including Ahmadinejad’s main political rival Mir Hossein Mousavi as well as former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. The new President was officially endorsed on Monday by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who warned him that the "angry, wounded opposition" would continue to defy his presidency.

Iran’s security forces have acted swiftly and brutally in stifling opposition protests since Ahmadinejad’s bitterly disputed election win in June. All opposition gatherings have been banned in the wake of the violent elections, in which up to 100 people are believed to have died. Around 110 reformists, political activists, journalists and protesters have been put on trial so far.

On Wednesday, the reformist newspaper Sarmayeh said that Mir Hamid Hassanzadeh, former director of opposition leader Mousavi’s website Ghalamnews, had been arrested along with Reza Noor Bakhsh, chief editor of the opposition supporting Farhikhtegan newspaper. Witnesses speaking to AFP say that the protests in Baharestan Square have led to at least one arrest.

Ahmadinejad promised to fight for social justice.

"Special economic privileges which are the source of discrimination and corruption must be uprooted," he said.

But opponents and critics of the President say he made whimsical and rash decisions in his first term, accusing him of mismanaging the economy, stoking inflation and manipulating statistics. Ahmadinejad claimed a 63 per cent victory in the June elections, a result he calls a "great triumph" over Iran’s enemies.