MOSCOW, June 23 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow is unlikely to change its attitude of non-interference in the domestic situation in Iran, although it "would be great" if Russia and China put pressure on the Iranian leadership, a political scientist said on Tuesday.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday the events that occurred in Iran following the announcement of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's election victory were an exclusively internal issue.
Several protesters were killed and hundreds arrested over the weekend following a week of mass demonstrations in Tehran over alleged ballot fraud in the landslide reelection of hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on June 12. Official results gave the incumbent 63% of the vote, with reformist challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi getting 34%.
"I think that while the U.S. and the U.K. should stay completely silent - only condemning violence, without taking sides - it would be great if Russia and China could pressure the regime to recognize the aspirations of protesters," Dr. Laleh Khalili of London's School of Oriental and African Studies said in an interview with RIA Novosti, adding however that this "is pretty unlikely."
At least 457 people were reported to have been arrested during rioting in Iran's capital on Saturday with some 13 people being killed. Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki warned Europe and the United States on Sunday against meddling in Iran's domestic issues.
Iranian state television reported on Tuesday that the Guardian Council said it would not annul the results of the presidential vote, and Khalili said the opposition was not strong enough to challenge the decision.
President Ahmadinejad and his new Cabinet will be sworn in between July 26 and August 19.