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August 6, 2009

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President takes oath for second Iran term

MAHMOUD Ahmadinejad was sworn in yesterday for a second term in office as president of Iran, appealing for national unity and denouncing foreign interference in his inauguration speech before parliament.

Ahmadinejad took the oath and pledged to protect the constitution but his inauguration speech was unusually soft-toned for the tough leader. He focused on foreign policy, saying he would make it "stronger and with more effective new plans."

"I hereby swear by the almighty God to protect the system of the Islamic Revolution and the constitution, I will spare no effort to safeguard the frontiers of Iran," Ahmadinejad said.

He did not directly address the massive street demonstrations against his victory, but said his government would "resist any violation of law and interference."

Top officials and clerics attended the ceremony, boycotted by opposition leaders and moderate lawmakers.

Iran's opposition has claimed Ahmadinejad stole the vote in the June 12 presidential elections and there have been mass street protests that have shaken the country's religious leadership. At least 30 demonstrators have been killed in the uprising.

Opposition groups had called protesters again to the streets to coincide with the inauguration. The official IRNA news agency said there was no "disturbance of the peace" in Tehran during the ceremony but eyewitnesses said at least 10 people were detained.


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