The United Nations said on Tuesday that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has congratulated Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose contested re-election sparked violent protests across the country.
Iran's June 12 election, which secured hardline President Ahmadinejad's re-election, plunged Iran into its biggest internal crisis since the 1979 Islamic revolution, exposed deepening divisions in its ruling elite and set off a wave of protests.
Among those leaders who withheld their congratulations to Ahmadinejad were U.S. President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
A UN spokeswoman said Ban's letter, sent Monday, was a "customary letter on occasion of inauguration" but added that the text would not be made public. The United Nations routinely releases the content of such congratulatory messages.
Meanwhile, a top aide of Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi said Tuesday that he had handed over a list of 69 victims of the post-election crackdown to parliament.
Ali Reza Beheshti told the Associated Press on Tuesday that the list also includes 220 detained and should by no means be considered exhaustive.
Beheshti said the names came from the families of the victims and there were more coming all the time.
"The list, which was submitted Monday, included only those they could verify," he added.
The Iranian parliament is probing the post-election unrest in which officials say some 30 were killed. Human rights groups say it was much higher.
Also Tuesday, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi urged Ban to visit Iran to receive a first-hand account of human rights abuses.
"I ask UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to visit Iran," Ebadi told reporters in Seoul, where she picked up a local peace prize. "He must speak to the families whose members have been arrested or killed."
Ban is also in South Korea, though it was not immediately clear whether he and Ebadi had spoken.
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