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Iran's Ahmadinejad takes office scorning "scowls" of enemies

Some 1,000 riot police at the inauguration hall held back protesters – whom Iran's Supreme Leader called 'angry and wounded.'

By Staff writer / August 5, 2009

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks to members of parliament during his swearing-in ceremony in Tehran on Wednesday.

Raheb Homavandi/Reuters

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Taking an assertive and nearly aggressive stance with his critics at home and perceived enemies abroad, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was inaugurated as Iran's president as 1,000 riot police ringed the hall where he took his oath and used tear gas to keep protesters at bay.

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The former engineer, whose election victory has been disputed by the country's reformist opposition, kept up the theme he has maintained in Iran's weeks of turmoil: that it is hostile foreign powers and not Iranian citizens unhappy with the direction the country has taken that have opposed him. He also appeared miffed that he hadn't received congratulations from President Barack Obama or other Western powers.

"This means they only want democracy which serves their interests and they don't respect people's votes and rights," AFP quoted Ahmadinejad as saying. "You should know that nobody in Iran is awaiting your congratulations. Iranians will neither value your scowling and bullying nor your smiles and greetings."

AFP also quoted him as stating that "we will resist oppressors and try to correct the global discriminatory mechanisms in order to benefit all the nations of the world.''

There was some oppression going on in the streets of Tehran as Ahmadinejad took his oath, the Associated Press reports.

Britain's Daily Telegraph said that while Ahmadinejad was showing "disdain" for his political opponents, the Supreme Leader, the most powerful man in the country, offered at least one sign of possible moderation and accommodation.

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