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Local rally calls for violence to stop in Iran

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Iran rally
Iranians and Iranian Americans held a rally in downtown Minneapolis in support of democracy in Iran.
MPR Photo/Nate Minor

About 100 people, many of them Iranian-Americans, rallied at the Hennepin County Government Center in downtown Minneapolis Wednesday to call for the violence against pro-democracy demonstrators in Iran to stop. 

Organizer Parham Alaei said family members in Iran tell him police are becoming more agitated and aggressive with the demonstrators, who are demanding a new presidential election. 

"We would like to see a transition to democracy," Alaei said. "That is the ultimate goal, of course. At this point we would like the killings to stop, and we want the international community to send a strong message to Iran to stop killing people."

Organizers say about 3,000 Iranian immigrants and members of their families live in Minnesota. 

Siamak Masoudi said he brought his wife and children to today's rally because he's worried for his family still living in Iran. 

"Our hope is for everybody in Iran to be as free as they want to be," Masoudi said. "Our hope is that it is not a sham of a democracy. How can you have democracy when you have a position called a supreme leader?"

Masoudi said he doubts it was possible to quickly hand-count the 41 million ballots cast in Iran's June 12 presidential election. 

Earlier today, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei closed the door to any possible compromise with opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, whose loss in the presidential election sparked more than a week of protests.