Iranian officials have charged that the US, Britain, and Israel are behind demonstrations that have brought hundreds of thousands out onto the streets – resulting in clashes, street violence, and rioting – in a bid to annul Ahmadinejad's unexpected 2-to-1 landslide victory over Mir Hossein Mousavi.
American officials said on Wednesday they had withdrawn invitations to Iranian diplomats to attend July 4 festivities at US embassies around the world – one US step that Washington had hoped would help break the ice. No Iranian official had accepted the invitations anyway, according to the State Department.
The crisis has exposed further divisions within Iran's ruling elite. Local newspapers reported that only 105 out of the 290 members of parliament (MPs) attended a victory celebration for Ahmadinejad, with the majority skipping the event. [Editor's note: .]
Mr. Mousavi has not been seen in public for many days, as riot police and armed militiamen have battled protesters or prevented them from gathering. In a message on Mousavi's website Thursday, he said his access to people was now "completely restricted" and that he had been under "pressure" to give up his challenge.
"I cannot modify black as white and white as black," he was quoted as saying, according to the Associated Press. "This is not the solution, to expect me to express something which I don't believe."
70 professors detained
Some 70 professors were reportedly detained after meeting with Mousavi, during which he criticized Iran's supreme religious leader and said the "government will face a crisis of political legitimacy," Mousavi's Website stated, in a translation by the Guardian newspaper in London. The Guardian later reported that all but four of the 40 were released, quoting a "reliable source" from the New York-based group Human Rights Watch.