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Germany Expresses Concerns Over Allegations Of Irregularities In Iranian Elections

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday called for a "transparent investigation" into allegations of fraud in the recently concluded Iranian presidential polls, and urged Tehran to provide more information on Friday's elections and the following unrest.

"There are signs of irregularities," Merkel told reporters in Berlin on Monday."The German government is very concerned about the current situation," Merkel said Monday in Berlin.

In a joint press conference with visiting visiting Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsavangirai, Merkel strongly condemned the "wave of arrests" during the post election protests, and urged Tehran to conduct a "transparent investigation into allegations of election fraud.

Her remarks came a couple of days after Iran's election commission declared incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad winner in Friday's presidential election, securing over 60% of the votes polled.

However, the defeated candidates challenged the results, accusing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of rigging the election. Also, many people have been arrested since Sunday in a severe post-poll crackdown on those protesting against the declared election results in Tehran.

Also on Monday, the EU foreign ministers issued a joint statement in Luxembourg expressing concern about the use of violence against peaceful demonstrators in Tehran. In the joint statement, they urged the Iranian authorities to launch an investigation in the allegations of electoral fraud.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown warned Tehran that the way in which the Iranian government deals with the post-election protest will directly affect the country's international relations.

"The way the regime responds to legitimate protests will have implications for Iran's relationships with the rest of the world in the future," Brown told the House of Commons on Monday.

Separately, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Monday that the "genuine will of the Iranian people should be respected," adding that the United Nations is "closely following" the post-election developments in the Islamic country.

Earlier, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden expressed doubts Sunday about the fairness of the election, but added that it would take time to analyze the poll results. Though several other countries, including Canada and France, expressed their concerns about irregularities in the Iranian Presidential polls, they have not explicitly refused to accept the election results.

Following widespread allegations of irregularities in the polls, Iran's supreme leader Ayatolla Ali Khamenei on Monday ordered the powerful Guardian Council to "precisely consider" the complaints. His order came after two of the defeated candidates in Friday's election filed official complaints against the poll result with the Guardian Council - the country's powerful clerical group.

Earlier, defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi had lodged a compliant with the countries alleging widespread vote-rigging. He is being supported in his claims by fellow defeated candidate Mohsen Rezai, who also filed an official complaint alleging poll irregularities.

by RTT Staff Writer

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