We get the government we deserve

Crowds gather for Ahmadinejad victory rally

Supporters of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have gathered in Tehran to celebrate his re-election, after a vote his critics say was fixed.

There have been several outbreaks of violence since the result was announced and there were reports of new small-scale clashes before the rally.

Security forces have arrested up to 100 members of reformist groups, accusing them of orchestrating the violence.

Mr Ahmadinejad denied any vote-fixing, saying the result was "very accurate".

At an earlier news conference, the president accused foreign media of refusing to accept the result because they did not like it.

"Forty million people have taken part in this process. How can they question it?" he said.

Asked about Iran's nuclear programme and Tehran's relations with foreign powers , he said the nuclear debate "belongs to the past", and that Iran had "embraced" the idea of an international effort to eliminate nuclear weapons.

Global reaction to the election has been muted, but US Vice-President Joe Biden told broadcaster NBC there was "an awful lot of doubt" about the result.

Mr Ahmadinejad's closest rival in the election campaign, Mir-Hossein Mousavi, announced on Sunday he had lodged an official appeal appeal against the result to Iran's Guardian Council .

"I urge you Iranian nation to continue your nationwide protests in a peaceful and legal way," he said in a statement.

Leader's endorsement

Mr Mousavi has called several times for his supporters to avoid violence, but angry protesters have been setting light to vehicles and throwing stones in Tehran.

Dozens of activists have been arrested, with reports saying those detained were members of pro-reformist political parties which had backed Mr Mousavi during the election campaign.
[You can't believe he's actually endorsing Ahmadinejad. "What did the Iranian people do to deserve this?" I can hear you ask. Er, who said it was the Iranians who are getting the Iranian leader they deserve? -ed]