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Clinton urges Iran to release political prisoners

world Updated: Jul 30, 2009 11:16 IST

AFP
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US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday urged Iran to release political prisoners held after protests over the disputed elections last month.

“We believe that it is imperative for the (Iranian) authorities to release political prisoners,” Clinton told a press conference with British Foreign Secretary David Miliband.

Clinton also said the United States deplores reports from Iran that political prisoners were allegedly being abused.

Iran’s “continuing detention and abuse of political prisoners certainly suggests that the political situation inside of Iran has not yet resolved itself,” she said.

She reiterated US support for the “people of Iran being able to express their opinions, being able to demonstrate freely and openly and engage in peaceful protests.”

Saeed Jalili, a senior official in Tehran, said yesterday that Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has ordered a jail holding protesters detained after last month’s election to close as it is not up to required standards.

Iranian judicial officials say that around 300 protesters arrested during the demonstrations that followed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s hotly disputed re-election are still being detained.

In all, up to 2,000 protestors, political activists and journalists were detained but most have since been released, official reports says.