Ahmadinejad 2nd Term Blessed, Iran TV Airs 'Confessions'

By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 3, 2009 8:06 AM CDT
Mohammad Ali Abtahi, a reformist Iranian cleric, is seated second from right. He made a long confession at the ongoing mass trial, but his wife said it was not authentic.   (AP Photo/Fars News Agency, Hossein Salehi Ara)
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(Newser) – As his adversaries faced a mass court hearing condemned as a show trial, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was formally endorsed today for a second term as president of Iran. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei conducted the ceremony, which Mir Hossein Mousavi and other opposition figures boycotted. The endorsement came after state television screened courtroom confessions by two prominent reformists, who said they had "changed" since their arrest. They added that they had not been tortured, as supporters alleged.

One defendant, a cleric and former vice president, appeared in court without his turban and looked gray and disheveled when he spoke. He read a long confession claiming he had plotted for years to overthrow the government. His wife dismissed his confession as false, saying that the statement was not in his style. According to human rights groups, in Iran such statements are almost always obtained by threats or violence. Ahmadinejad will be inaugurated Wednesday; protests are planned.The Wall Street Journal sees the trials as a step toward outlawing reformist parties and political activity.