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Iran's Ahmadinejad sworn in for second presidency

IRAN'S President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was sworn in today for a second term amid prolonged controversy over his landslide victory in the presidential election, the state TV reported.

Ahmadinejad, accompanied by judiciary chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, formally took oath of office in a ceremony in Iranian parliament this morning.

"I swear to protect the official faith, the system of the Islamic Revolution and the constitution ... and devote myself to serving the people," Ahmadinejad said during his swearing-in ceremony, broadcast live on state TV.

He said Iran will resist the world's "oppressive powers" and dismissed some Western leaders' refusal to send congratulatory messages to him.

"We will resist oppressive powers and try to correct the global discriminatory mechanisms in our efforts to benefit the whole world," he said in the ceremony, which was chaired by Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani.

"No one is waiting for the congratulatory messages from the Western leaders," Ahmadinejad said.

Yesterday, spokesmen for US President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy said respectively their leaders would not congratulate the Iranian president.

Ahmadinejad also said the presidential election marked the beginning of "major changes in Iran and the world," adding that Tehran would continue its "active role in the international arena."

Iran's English-language satellite channel Press TV said "almost all parliament members, including the minority (reformist) factions" participated in the ceremony.

As the swearing-in ceremony took place, hundreds of policemen and Basij paramilitary volunteer forces were deployed around the parliament to prevent opposition protests.

Witnesses said Iranian security forces dispersed some protesters who gathered in nearby streets.

According to the official IRNA news agency, there was no "disturbance of the peace" on major streets in Tehran this morning.

Ahmadinejad won 62.63 percent of the total ballots in the June 12 presidential election, while his main rival Mir-Hossein Mousavigot 33.75 percent, the Iranian Interior Ministry said on June 13.

After the official declaration, all the three defeated candidates filed complaints over irregularities in the election, and Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi have demanded an annulment of the election.

Mousavi's supporters have participated in massive rallies in Tehran and other cities following the disputes.


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