Report: Iran arrests 7 election campaigners

Associated Press

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iranian authorities have arrested at least seven people who attended a campaign meeting for a reform-leaning presidential candidate, an exile-based Iranian opposition website reported Sunday.

Kaleme.com says police made the arrests at a gathering to support candidate Hasan Rowhani in northern Tehran on Saturday.

It said the arrests were made after many participants chanted slogans calling for the release of Mir Hossein Mousavi, an opposition leader and candidate in Iran's disputed 2009 elections who has been under house arrest for more than two years.

Rowhani is one of eight candidates cleared by the Islamic Republic's constitutional watchdog, the Guardian Council, to run in this year's June 14 elections.

Most other approved candidates were hard-liners, while their most charismatic challengers were disqualified.

Meanwhile, a council of advisors to influential former reformist president Mohammad Khatami has urged Rowhani to unite with the other major reform-leaning candidate.

The statement, carried on Khatami's personal website, expressed hope that Rowhani and Mohamed Reza Aref could form a "united front" to field a single nominee.

Aref's star has been rising since his performance in a Friday debate, restoring some energy to the movement after their main candidate, former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, was disqualified by the Guardian Council.

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