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Ahmadinejad fires up the anti-America rhetoric again

Hopes dimmed for a thaw in US-Iran relations as the Iranian president criticized his American counterpart Barack Obama for echoing Bush rhetoric.

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Mr. Mousavi has not been seen in public for many days, as riot police and armed militiamen have battled protesters or prevented them from gathering. In a message on Mousavi's website Thursday, he said his access to people was now "completely restricted" and that he had been under "pressure" to give up his challenge.

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"I cannot modify black as white and white as black," he was quoted as saying, according to the Associated Press. "This is not the solution, to expect me to express something which I don't believe."

70 professors detained

Some 70 professors were reportedly detained after meeting with Mousavi, during which he criticized Iran's supreme religious leader and said the "government will face a crisis of political legitimacy," Mousavi's Website stated, in a translation by the Guardian newspaper in London. The Guardian later reported that all but four of the 40 were released, quoting a "reliable source" from the New York-based group Human Rights Watch.

In a second statement on Thursday, according to the Guardian, Mousavi said he would not keep quiet: "I am ready to show how the electoral wrong-doers, standing beside the main agitators that have caused the present disturbances, have spilled people's blood."

He called on supporters to resist calmly. "[The people's] problem is with millions of votes whose fate is unknown," Mousavi said. "It is a must for us to neutralize this evil conspiracy through our behavior and expressions."

State-run English language Press TV reported that Mousavi and the head of Iran's Expediency Council, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani – one of Mousavi's key backers – both met with the governing board of parliament's national security committee and promised to help end unrest.

Charges by Mousavi that the crisis had harmed the "legitimacy" of Iran's Islamic system of rule have been echoed by Iran's most important dissident cleric, who was once the chosen successor to rule Iran after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, until a falling-out in 1989 over human rights issues.

"If Iranians cannot talk about their legitimate rights at peaceful gatherings and are instead suppressed, complexities will build up which could possibly uproot the foundations of the government, no matter how powerful," Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri said in a statement to Agence France-Presse.

Grand Ayatollah Montazeri called for an "impartial" committee to be appointed to resolve the crisis.