A partial recount of the ballots cast in Iran’s disputed presidential election is under way. However, authorities in Tehran have already extended their deadline to investigate claims of electoral fraud by five days, meaning the final certification of the ballot likely remains days away. The country’s ruling Guardian Council plans to re-count a randomly selected cross-section of votes representing 10 per cent of the total ballots cast. Opposition candidates have so far refused to send monitors to the recount out of concern they may send the impression they endorse a process they say will do nothing to change the outcome of the election.
Meanwhile, four local staff working at the British embassy in Tehran remain in custody, accused of instigating and directing massive protests that erupted following the June 12 presidential election that returned President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power and that most observers believe was rigged. “The embassy sent staff among the rioters to direct them in order to escalate the riots so that the rioters could file fabricated reports about the [rallies] to the world from various locations,” Iranian Intelligence Minister Gholam-Hoseyn Mohseni-Ezhei said. Nine local staff were originally detained, but five have now been released.