Today's Top Stories (June 16, 2009)

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Today's Top Stories (June 16, 2009) - International reactions to Iran elections – Tuesday 16 June Iran’s ...
Today's Top Stories (June 16, 2009) - International reactions to Iran elections – Tuesday 16 June Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived at the Russian city of Yekaterinburg today to attend the ninth annual summit of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Iran has an observer status in the SCO, which includes Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgystan. A spokeswoman for Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev told reporters that: “the heads of SCO member states congratulated Ahmadinejad on his reelection.” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said today that: "We welcome the fact that the elections have taken place, and we welcome the newly re-elected Iranian president on the Russian soil." Ryabkov added that: "It's quite symbolic that the Iranian president arrived in Russia on his first foreign visit since re-election. We see that as a sign that the Russian-Iranian relations will advance further." In Britain, Prime Minister Gordon Brown, said today: “The elections are a matter for the Iranian people, but if there are serious questions that are now being asked about the conduct of the elections, they have got to be answered.” Brown said “There must be no violence in response to peaceful protests,” adding that: “the relationship they will have and the respect they will have from the rest of the world will depend on how they respond to what are legitimate grievances that are being expressed and have to be answered.” At the same time Japan’s foreign minister, Hirofumi Nakasone, said today in a press conference: “We are extremely concerned about the confusion in Iran. We are carefully monitoring the situation.” He added: “We hear about shootings. We hope that the situation will come to an end as soon as possible.” Also today, Australia’s Foreign Minister Stephen Smith told that country’s parliament: “We are of course gravely concerned about both the reports and the images of serious human rights abuses that we’ve seen on camera and in photos in the last 24-36 hours in Tehran.” He continued: “We call for restraint by the Iranian authorities.” He added: “That is why we are not placing any hope in what’s happening there.” In Holland, the Dutch foreign minister, Maxime Verhagen, summoned Iran’s charge d’affaires to the Netherlands, Majid Qahremani today, to protest post-election violence in Tehran. “It cannot be that peaceful demonstrations are broken up violently,” Verhagen said in a statement, AFP reports. Another part of that statement reads: “People in Iran must be able to protest peacefully and the Netherlands has asked that the arrested demonstrators be immediately freed.” Iran summons Czech diplomat over EU statements on election Iran’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday summoned a Czech diplomat, representing the European Union, to protest against what it called “interference” by the 27-nation bloc following Iran’s presidential election. On Monday, the European Union called on Iran to clarify the election results, which showed a landslide victory for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance today banned foreign media journalists from leaving their offices to report on the protests throughout Tehran. “No journalist has permission to report or film or take pictures in the city,” a ministry official told Reuters. At least seven people were reported to have been killed since protesters took to the streets on Saturday.