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Iran's leader demands apology for 2009 claims

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July 29, 2013 04:28 AM EST | AP

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TEHRAN, Iran — Iran's Supreme Leader is calling on top opposition figures to apologize for claiming vote fraud in the country's 2009 presidential elections.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's comments are seen as a response to demands from Iranian politicians for the release of Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mahdi Karroubi, both under house arrest since 2011.

Khameini's remarks were carried by state TV Monday.

Prominent conservative lawmaker Ali Motahari recently said that this June's presidential election brought national reconciliation and demanded that Mousavi and Karroubi be freed.

Hardliners have repeatedly called for the execution of the two leaders but Khamenei's remarks suggest that Iran's ruling system has softened its stance.

Mousavi ran against outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the 2009 election. Reformers disputed Ahmadinejad's victory and there were weeks of demonstrations followed by a crackdown.