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Merkel to the Mullahs: We Side with the Protesters

9:53 AM, Jun 22, 2009 • By ULF GARTZKE
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German chancellor Angela Merkel has urged the ruling regime in Tehran to allow a full recount of the disputed presidential elections of June 12. "Germany sides with those Iranians who want to exercise their right to freedom of expression and assembly", Merkel declared on Sunday; making it one of the strongest messages sent by any Western leader to Iran so far. Chancellor Merkel also called on Tehran to allow peaceful demonstrations, to refrain from using force against protestors, and to release imprisoned opposition figures. "Human and civil rights have to be fully respected," she stated. Merkel further demanded that restrictions placed on foreign media covering the widespread protests across Tehran and the rest of the country be lifted.