AS if suppressing public dissent against the disputed presidential election was not enough, the Iranian authorities further hurt the electorate by declaring the June 12 vote as the 'cleanest' the country has ever had. The political deadlock continues to persist as the opposition leaders have rejected the panel set up to hold a partial recount in the polls. Mir Hossein Mousavi sticks to his demand for a rerun of the election while another defeated candidate, Mehdi Karroubi, calls for setting up an independent panel to probe irregularities. The demand for a fresh election or a 'fair and thorough' examination of complaints about the alleged rigging failed to alter the view of the 12-member Guardian Council, which recently announced the setting up of a special committee of political figures and candidates' representatives to recount 10 percent of ballots and draw up a report on the vote. There is no disputing the fact that restricting the probe into complaints about irregularities in a limited number of constituencies cannot change the public view about the results. That the Guardian Council ordered an enquiry into claims of fraud soon after Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei described Mr Ahmedinejad's victory as a 'divine assessment' indicates some sort of division in its ranks.. It bears repeating that the Establishment should not remain oblivious to the people's democratic aspirations that became obvious from the countrywide protests coming on the heels of the official announcement of the election results. The state-owned media reported 17 deaths and the arrests of scores of reformist leaders, journalists and political activists during the last three weeks, though it was difficult to get the actual picture because the foreign media was barred from covering the demonstrations. Public is outraged. It is an implicit rejection of the system where Parliament is subservient to the un-elected body of jurists and clerics. Ayatollah Khamenei is well within his rights to denounce what he called 'absurd' and 'interfering' statements by Western officials. But when he calls upon the people of Iran to stay united, he also needs to lend credence to their demand for turning the country into a democratic polity. They have refused to be cowed by the persistent crackdown and are in no mood to accept the results of the recently held presidential election that they allege was massively rigged. The demonstrations on the streets of Tehran over the past few weeks carries a clear message for the countries of the Muslim World ruled by unrepresentative regimes, that they would not be able to continue with their repressive policies.