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EUR: EU rejects Iran interference claims as 'unacceptable'

23 Jun 2009 2:39 AM

BRUSSELS, June 22 AFP - The European Union has rejected Iran's claims of EU interference in presidential elections there as "baseless and unacceptable".

"The EU considers the accusations made by various Iranian authorities towards the EU and its member states concerning European interference in the Iranian elections as baseless and unacceptable," a statement said on Monday.

"All European Union member states obviously stand united against accusations made towards individual EU countries and attempts to mark out the attitude of some of them towards Iran," said the statement by the EU presidency.

Meanwhile, Russia has called for a constitutional resolution to Iran's post-election crisis following a warning from the Revolutionary Guards that it would crush further protests.

"The divergences that have appeared following the election must be resolved in strict conformity with the constitution and the law," said a Russian foreign ministry statement on Monday, referring to mass rallies against official vote results.

Iranian riot police armed with clubs and riding motorbikes fired tear gas on Monday as about 1,000 opposition demonstrators gathered in Tehran in defiance of the official ban, witnesses said.

Italy, meanwhile, has advised its citizens against non-essential travel to Iran, in a message on a government website on Monday, following similar advice issued earlier by Britain.

"Because of the disorder that has followed the June 12 elections, a situation of uncertainty persists in Tehran and in other cities," said the foreign ministry statement.

It called on Italians who decided to stay in Iran to "take the greatest care in their movements, limiting them as much as possible to the strict necessities."

The statement also recommended avoiding the centre of Tehran and "staying away from any form of demonstration or mass gathering."

At least 17 deaths have been reported in the post-election violence, as opposition protesters led by defeated candidate Mir Hussein Mousavi took to the streets to contest President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad re-election.