UNITED NATIONS - Striking a tougher tone on Iran, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Tuesday urged an immediate end to the arrests, threats and use of force taking place amid the post-election violence that has already claimed a number of lives. Media reports say nearly 20 people have died in the unrest that has followed the 12 June presidential polls. Opposition candidate Mir Mousavi has contested the results of the vote. Ban is dismayed by the post-election violence, particularly the use of force against civilians, which has led to the loss of life and injuries, his spokesperson said in a statement. He urges an immediate stop to the arrests, threats and use of force, the statement added. He called on the authorities to respect fundamental civil and political rights, especially the freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and freedom of information. He also called on the Govt and the opposition to peacefully resolve their differences through dialogue and legal means, and reiterated his hope that the democratic will of the people of Iran will be fully respected. Last week, the United Nations human rights chief, Navi Pillay, voiced concern over reports of the use of excessive force and violence, as well as rising numbers of potentially extralegal arrests in the post-election period. In Washington, the Obama administration said that it has no plan to rescind invitations to Iranian diplomats to attend celebrations to mark Americas Independence Day on July 4. Theres no thought to rescind the invitations to Iranian diplomats, said State Department spokesman Ian Kelly, when asked whether the administration will cancel the invitations in order to protest Iranian governments violent and unjust actions against its people. We have made a strategic decision to engage on a number of fronts with Iran. And we tried many years of isolation, and were pursuing a different path now, said the spokesman. As one of a new overture to Iran, a country that Washington has shun since 1980, the Obama administration has reportedly permitted all US embassies and consulates to invite Irans diplomats to attend the Independent Day celebrations. The possible interaction between the two countries, however, has been facing uncertainties due to the situation in Iran. I really think that the focus has to be on whats going on inside Iran, said Kelly, adding this is not about our bilateral relationship right now. This is about Iranians and the Iranians having their rights to express themselves be respected, their political (right) will be respected. The president made a very strong statement, I thought, standing very firmly behind those who want to have their views respected; want to be able to peaceably assemble; want to have access to the media, said the spokesman.