Photos: Iran elections

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  1. Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, top, looks at judiciary chief Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi, right, as he embraces Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad after he was sworn in for a second four-year term during a ceremony in parliament in Tehran on August 5, 2009. Ahmadinejad was sworn in as Iranian president as riot police broke up opposition protests over an election that triggered the worst turmoil in the Islamic republic's history. Framed pictures are portraits of Iranian "martyrs". (Behrouz Mehri / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. An Iranian protester holds-up a placard as a burned U.S. flag is seen on the ground during an anti-Britain protest in front of the British embassy in Tehran on Tuesday, June 23. Iran accused U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday of interfering in its state affairs in his comments about the Islamic Republic's disputed June 12 election, the ISNA news agency reported. (Fars News via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. This photograph posted on the internet shows two Iranian women taking cover from a cloud of either tear gas or smoke at an anti-government protest in Tehran, Iran Saturday, June 20. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Supporters of Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi fight running battles with riot police on Saturday, June 20, in Tehran. Several thousand defied an ultimatum from Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, calling for an end to protests over last week's disputed presidential election results. (Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. A Mousavi supporter holds a toy gun in his hand to intimidate police and militia during Saturday's protests. (Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Mousavi supporters run from tear gas fired by riot police in Tehran on Saturday. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Iranian protesters cover their face from tear gas during clashes with riot police in Tehran on Saturday. (Ali Safari / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. A Mousavi supporter shows her hand covered in the blood of a person injured Saturday. (Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. A protester cheers as a bus burns in Tehran on Saturday. (Ali Safari / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. People tend to an injured woman as supporters of Mousavi protest in Tehran on Saturday. (Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, front right, leads the weekly Friday prayer at Tehran University. Khamenei called for an end to street protests, siding with declared winner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in his first public appearance since the protests began. (Behrouz Mehri / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Khamenei makes his address as part of Friday prayers at Tehran University. He spoke a day after hundreds of thousands of protesters in black and green flooded the streets of Tehran in a somber, candlelit show of mourning for those killed in clashes after Iran's disputed presidential election. (Morteza Nikoubazl / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,left, talks to Judiciary Chief Mahmood Hashemi Shahroodi during Friday prayers in Tehran. (Morteza Nikoubazl / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. An Iranian man listens to Khamenei's Friday prayer sermon outside Tehran University on Friday. (Olivier Laban-Mattei / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Iranian men shout slogans outside Tehran University on Friday during the Ayatollah's speech. (Olivier Laban-Mattei / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Mir Hossein Mousavi, center, acknowledges the crowd during a demonstration Thursday in Tehran where his supporters gathered to honor demonstrators killed in clashes over the disputed election. (Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Iranian supporters of Mousavi gather in the streets Thursday in Tehran. (Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Candles are lit for the demonstrators who were killed on June 16. In the background, a slogan that reads 'Death to dictator' is seen on a Tehran street on Thursday. (Ali Zare / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Iranian supporters of defeated opposition presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi demonstrate Wednesday, June 17, in Tehran, Iran. Thousands of people are protesting in the streets of Tehran today with expectations of an even larger protest Thursday as a day of mourning is planned for the eight people killed in Monday's protests. Iran has banned foreign media from covering rallies in the country. (Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Iranian supporters of defeated reformist presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi demonstrate on June 17, 2009 in Tehran, Iran. Iran's Guardian Council reportedly said that they would recount some of the votes in presidential election that critics say was unfairly won by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinehjad. (Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. A broken computer monitor in a room in a Tehran University dormitory after it was attacked by militia forces during riots in Tehran, Monday, June 15, Iran. Overnight, police and militia stormed the campus at the city's biggest university, ransacking dormitories and arresting dozens of students angry over what they claim was election fraud. Iran's media clampdown seeks to restrict what its citizens and the world can see of street protests. But it's the Internet age, and protesters can take video and photos with cellphones and transmit them over the Web - a huge change from the primitive communications during Iran's 1979 revolution. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. A demonstrator shows a picture of former presidential candidate Mirhossein Mousavi during a rally in support of Mousavi near the Azadi (Freedom) monument, western Tehran on Monday. (Caren Firouz / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Demonstrators stand on railings to get a view of the crowds, next to posters of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as hundreds of thousands of supporters of leading opposition presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, who claims there was voting fraud in Friday's election, turn out to protest the result of the election at a mass rally in Azadi square in Tehran, Iran, Monday, June 15. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. A man wounded by gunfire is removed from an area where pro-government militia were firing shots in the air near a rally supporting leading opposition presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi in Tehran, Iran, Monday. Hundreds of thousands gathered in Azadi (Freedom) square in Tehran to support Mir Hossein Mousavi, who claims there was voting fraud in Friday's election. (Ben Curtis / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Defeated Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, center, addresses supporters as he attends a rally with his wife Zahra Rahnavard in Tehran on Monday. (Olivier Laban-Mattei / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. A man lies on the back of a taxi, after being seriously injured by gunfire in an area where pro-government militia were firing shots in the air at a rally supporting leading opposition presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi in Tehran, Iran, Monday. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. Protestors set fires in a main street in Tehran, Iran early on Monday morning. Iran's supreme leader ordered an investigation into allegations of election fraud on Monday. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. Iranian plain clothes policemen beat a demonstrator with batons during a protest against the election results in Tehran on Sunday. (AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. Supporters of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad cry as he addresses them during a victory celebration on Sunday. (Damir Sagolj / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. President Ahmadinejad on Sunday holds his first news conference after Iran's controversial presidential election on Friday. (Damir Sagolj / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. Mousavi supporters try to calm fellow demonstrators as they clash with a riot policeman in Tehran on Saturday. (Olivier Laban-Mattei / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  32. Smoke billows from a burning bus as a supporter of Mousavi flashes the victory sign during a protest in Tehran on Saturday. (Olivier Laban-Mattei / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  33. Iranian riot police clear burning debris as supporters of the defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi fought running battles using stones and petrol bombs against police on Saturday. (Ben Curtis / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  34. A Mousavi supporter hurls a stone at an Iranian police officer during riots on Saturday. (Olivier Laban-Mattei / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  35. An injured Mousavi supporter covers his face during riots in Tehran on Saturday. (Olivier Laban-Mattei / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  36. An Iranian riot-police officer sprays tear-gas at a Mousavi supporter, who is advancing with a stick on Saturday. (Olivier Laban-Mattei / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  37. Ahmadinejad supporters flash the victory sign during celebrations in the Shiite holy city of Qom, about 70 miles south of Tehran, on Saturday. (Amir Hesami / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  38. Supporters of the reformist candidate protest the declaration of victory for Ahmadinejad on Saturday. Their preferred candidate, Mousavi, denounced the results as "treason." (Ben Curtis / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  39. Anna Seyedan casts her vote for president of Iran as her daughter Sameen watches on Friday at a polling place in Potomac, Md., for Iranian citizens living in the Washington area. Iran was voting on whether to keep hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in power for four more years or replace him with a candidate more open to loosening the country's Islamic restrictions and improving ties with the United States. (Jonathan Ernst / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  40. Iranian women stand in line to cast their votes at Masoumeh shrine in Qum, about 75 miles south of Tehran on Friday. (Kamran Jebreili / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  41. Ahmadinejad holds his passport up as he arrives to cast his ballot during the Iranian presidential election on Friday. (Ahmed Jadallah / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  42. Leading challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi holds his inked finger aloft after casting his vote with his wife Zahra Rahnavard. (Ben Curtis / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  43. An Iranian woman casts her ballot in the presidential elections in a polling station in Tehran. (Behrouz Mehri / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  44. Iranian clerics check candidates' list before voting at the shrine of Hazrat-e Massoumeh, granddaughter of Prophet Mohammad, in the city of Qom. (Damir Sagolj / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  45. Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a speech after casting his vote to elect a new president at his office in Tehran. (Olivier Laban-Mattei / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  46. A supporter of Ahmadinejad rides a motorcycle featuring a windshield covered with campaign posters during a rally in Tehran on June 10. (Ahmed Jadallah / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  47. Zahra Rahnavard, the wife of Mousavi, holds her husband's photograph during a campaign rally in Tehran on June 9. (Ahmed Jadallah / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  48. A supporter of Ahmadinejad displays her hand painted with the Iranian flag at his final election campaign rally in Tehran on June 10. (Ben Curtis / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  49. Supporters of Mousavi hold a rally in downtown Tehran on Monday, June 8. (Arash Khamooshi / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Behrouz Mehri / AFP - Getty Images
    Above: Slideshow (49) Protests follow Iran election - Iran elections
  2. Image:
    Walter Bieri / AP
    Slideshow (42) Protests follow Iran election - World reaction
  3. Shah Of Persia
    General Photographic Agency / Getty Images
    Slideshow (15) Protests follow Iran election - Iran's perilous path
  4. AP
    Slideshow (5) Protests follow Iran election - Protests: Then and now
updated 7/14/2009 5:30:13 PM ET 2009-07-14T21:30:13

Several dozen families camp outside Iran's daunting Evin prison, trying to learn the fate of loved ones who vanished in post-election turmoil. A month into the government crackdown, the number of killed and arrested remains unknown, but human rights groups believe the death toll is far higher than the official figure of 20.

Many of at least 500 known to have been arrested have disappeared in prisons, held in secret locations and barred from contact with families. Rights groups say perhaps dozens of others have not been heard of since the protests and their relatives still cannot determine whether they are now locked in a cell or dead.

Over the weekend, about 50 men and women held vigil in Tehran before the gates of Evin, the main prison for political detainees, waiting for news on whether their relatives are inside, a witness told The Associated Press. Some of the women read aloud softly from the Quran, others chanted "God is great" from time to time. But mostly they stood silent, the witness said.

"They will call you soon. Go home and wait for the phone to ring," a police officer told them. But the families remained in place. The witness spoke on condition of anonymity fearing retribution from authorities, and government restrictions imposed on the media barred photographing the gathering.

The crackdown on the gigantic rallies that broke out after Iran's disputed June 12 presidential election was chaotic. Not only regular police, but also plainclothes Basiji militiamen linked to the elite Republican Guards were involved in beating or firing on protesters, dragging some away in covered trucks to unknown locations.

The protests were sparked when opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi claimed he was the victor and that official results showing a victory for hard-line incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were fraudulent.

Security forces continue sweep
At the same time, security forces launched a sweep that continues weeks later against pro-reform politicians, lawyers, journalists, women's rights and other activists. Many were arrested from their homes or offices and the roundup effectively stripped away a senior level of the reform movement's political leadership.

It took 26 days for the family of Sohrab Aarabi to learn his fate after the 19-year-old disappeared during a June 15 protest. After weeks of asking at courts and prisons for him, his family was told Saturday that he had been shot in the chest during the protest and died, the New York-based International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran reported.

Aarabi was buried Monday in the vast Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery on the outskirts of Tehran.

But confirmation of his death only raised more questions. His body did not appear before the coroner until June 19, and it was not known if he died immediately of his wounds, was hospitalized or was detained at any point, the group said, citing the family.

Hadi Ghaemi, spokesman for the rights group, said there could be "dozens or even hundreds" of missing people like Aarabi, based on accounts from inside Iran that his group is investigating.

"They are people who simply went off the radar screen. They could be in detention, because the government has not released a list of detainees. There's no confirmation if they are in prison or dead. Their families are searching everywhere and not getting answers."

Iranian police said 20 protesters were killed in Tehran during the crackdown. The country's general prosecutor said last week that 2,500 people were arrested around the country, and that of those 500 remain in prison. He promised the 500 would be brought into the judicial system soon — meaning they would be removed from secret locations and either put on trial or processed for release.

No list of dead, arrested
The government has produced no list of dead or arrested. Independent efforts to track the numbers are made even harder by families' fears of talking about their killed or detained loved ones. Opposition Web sites report that families of slain protesters are given their loved ones' bodies for burial only after promising that the funerals will be discreet and will not feature political chants.

"Many people believe that countrywide the death toll is 100 or more. The trend coming to us is that it could be several times what the government has admitted," Ghaemi said. His organization is working on compiling a list of the dead from sources in Iran.

Another group, the International Committee Against Executions, has compiled a list of the names of 61 killed, with details of how and where they died and where they were buried.

For 25 of them, the list gave the number of the section where they are buried in Behesht-e-Zahra. Also on the list were protesters killed in other cities, including Kermanshah, Shiraz and Isfahan, which would not be included in the figure given by the Tehran police.

About a third of the names were confirmed by family members as dead, the rest by friends or activists on the ground, said Farshad Hoseini, the group's Netherlands-based director. The list could not be independently confirmed.

Among those on the list are Aarabi and Neda Agha Soltan, a 27-year-old woman whose dying moments after she was shot during a protest were captured on video, turning her into an icon for the movement. The list also includes three women and four men killed when Basijis stormed a Tehran University dormitory on June 14, as well as Kianoosh Asa, a chemistry student it said was abducted from another dorm and found dead in a morgue 10 days later.

Families search for answers
Meanwhile, relatives of many of those known to be imprisoned have been unable to find their loved ones, much less communicate with them. There are widespread fears that detainees held in special Revolutionary Guards facilities or other secret locations are being tortured or abused.

Mehdi Saharkhiz, who lives in the United States, said his family and friends in Tehran have been searching for his father — Isa Saharkhiz, a prominent journalist and a media adviser to defeated reformist presidential candidate Mahdi Karroubi — since he was arrested on July 3.

"Absolutely nothing. We don't know where he's kept," the younger Saharkhiz, a 27-year-old graphic designer in Wayne, New Jersey, told AP.

Mehdi had been heading on a vacation on July 2, but before he left he called his father in Iran to check in on him. Isa Saharkhiz had been in hiding since security forces searched his Tehran home early on in the turmoil.

"He told me to go ahead, everything seemed to be calm. So we left (on vacation.) As soon as we landed, I got e-mails from friends telling me to call home. When I did they told me he'd been taken," Mehdi said.

The detainees include prominent figures from the 1997-2005 reform government, including former vide president Mohammad Ali Abtahi and numerous former cabinet officials. Also still in custody are Newsweek correspondent Maziar Bahari, who has Iranian and Canadian citizenship, and Iranian-American Kian Tajbakhsh. In one of the most recent arrests, prominent human rights lawyer Shamsoldeen Issaei was detained by men in plainclothes over the weekend from his Tehran office, his wife has told pro-opposition newspapers.

Dozens of relatives of detainees gathered Tuesday in office of a human rights group in Tehran to exchange news. The wives of two of the most prominent detained pro-reform politicians, Mohsen Mirdamadi and Mostafa Tajzadeh, said they like many others had been unable to get any information about their loved ones' whereabouts.

"No official responded to us over the fate of detainees, this is a sign of lawlessness in the country," said Mirdamadi's wife, Zahra Mojarradi. "We went to the prosecutor general, but they said the case is not in their hands. It is said arrests were done by the Revolutionary Guards."

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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