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Prominent Iran opposition leader Mehdi Karoubi has said he recognizes Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president, despite saying last year’s poll was rigged.

Mr Karoubi’s son says his father still has doubts about the vote, but accepts the results following Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s endorsement.

According to Iran’s Fars news agency, Hossein Karoubi quoted his father as saying: “I am still of the same belief that the election was unhealthy and massively rigged.

“But since the [supreme] leader [Ayatollah Ali Khamenei] endorsed [Mr Ahmadinejad’s victory], I believe that he is the head of the government, meaning he is the president.”

It is not yet clear why Karoubi changed his mind. The Etemad Melli party of Karoubi called yesterday for the holding of a free election and permission to stage demonstrations. The party told Ahmadinejad “Hold a free election or allow a free gathering by providing security to supporters of Karoubi or (Mir Hossein) Mousavi which will show how people can wake you up” to realities.

Opposition activists are preparing for a new round of anti-Ahmadinejad protests on Revolution Day next month.

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