TV blackout and boycott mar Ahmadinejad's swearing-in

Iranian President takes oath of office – but the cries of 'Death to the Dictator' can still be heard in Tehran

The man who is now formally Iran's President for the next four years cut an isolated figure as he took his oath of office yesterday. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was sworn in for a second term at a ceremony boycotted by scores of parliamentarians, leading clerics and other important figures who would normally have been expected to attend.

Out on the streets demonstrators, many in black T-shirts to symbolise mourning, or wearing green, the colour of the campaign run by defeated opposition challenger Mirhossein Mousavi, marked what ought to have been a celebratory occasion by chanting "Death to the Dictator". Security forces had been deployed in massive numbers around the Iranian parliament where the swearing-in was taking place, as well as at the entrances to a number of key underground train stations and overpowered protesters with batons, tear gas and pepper spray.

Reflecting the extraordinary controversy surrounding the 12 June election and the worst turmoil since the Islamic revolution in 1979, the authorities decided not to broadcast the event live on state television in contrast to past inauguration ceremonies.

Former presidents Mohammad Khatami, a leading reformist, and Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who bankrolled the Mousavi campaign, both stayed away in protest. Some reformist members of parliament reportedly walked out during the newly inaugurated President's first speech.

In the event, after taking the oath, the 52-year-old former traffic management expert opted for a low-key address in which he made no allusion to the almost two months of protest, clashes, arrests and deaths provoked by his disputed victory. Instead he promised to "protect the official faith, the system of the Islamic revolution and the constitution".

But underscoring the power struggle that has been raging within the ranks of the political elite he urged "national resolve" and unity. "We should join hands as we move forward to fulfil our goals," he said. He also vowed to tackle the ailing economy – Iran's chronic unemployment and rampant inflation have fanned the popular discontent and demands for reform. Mr Ahmadinejad also resurrected promises to root out corruption and social injustice, the kind of populist discourse which first propelled him to power four years ago even though his enemies accuse him of abusing power to cosset the Revolutionary Guard and their powerful network of conglomerates and economic interests.

He also made sure to tick the failsafe box of rallying the national mood and deflecting attention from the bitter internal divisions by denouncing Western governments for stirring up "plenty of dust". Some countries had not recognised the elections he said because they wanted "democracy at the service of their own interests – they do not respect the rights of other nations. They see themselves as the yardstick of democracy – our people oppose this, that's what our people are resisting," he said. "We will not remain silent. We will not tolerate disrespect, interference and insults. I will spare no effort to safeguard the frontiers of Iran."

In a warning to the opposition about continuing protests, he served notice that his government would resist "any violation of law and interference".

European Union governments have criticised the Iranian regime's brutal crackdown on protesters and have scaled back diplomatic contacts. But most sent diplomatic envoys to the inauguration. Britain was represented by the UK ambassador to Iran, Simon Gass, but the Foreign Office said the Government withheld the customary message of congratulations to a new head of state.

Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, praised the courage of the Iranian opposition supporters and reformers in staging continuing demonstrations, but she summed up the resigned attitude with which the Obama administration is now being forced to regard political developments in Tehran. "Our policy remains the same and we take the reality that the person who was inaugurated today will be considered the President", Mrs Clinton said.

The White House spokesman, Robert Gibbs, meanwhile, said he had "misspoken" when on Monday he called Mr Ahmadinejad Iran's "elected leader". He said that Washington would let the Iranian people decide whether the vote was fair or not. In his speech, the Iranian President did not make mention Barack Obama's offer of engagement.

ebookA powerful collection of reportage on Egypt’s cycle of awakening and relapse
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

BI Developer - Sheffield - £35,000 ~ £40,000 DOE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

Employment Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - Senior Employment Solici...

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Day In a Page

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride