06/19/2009, 00.00
IRAN
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Honest elections, Ahmadinejad closer to him in policy matters, says Khamenei

In a moving but shrewd speech Khamenei calls for an end to demonstrations. Voter participation shows the people trusts the Islamic government. There was no fraud and complaints must follow the law, and not pour into the streets.
Tehran (AsiaNews) – In a highly emotional but political shrewd speech Grand Ayatollah Alì Khamenei reasserted the legitimacy of last week’s Iranian presidential elections, this despite days of protest by hundreds of thousands of Iranians. In his address Iran’s supreme leader praised all the candidates who took part in the process but also stressed that the winner, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is closer to him on foreign and domestic policy matters.

Khamenei delivered his speech at Tehran University’s main mosque in front of tens of thousands of people who interrupted him on several occasions, chanting slogans, crying, fist raised, holding posters of Khomeini and Khamenei.

All four candidates were invited but only Ahmadinejad and Mohsen Rezaee showed up. Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Kharroubi were nowhere to be seen; probably they are still unwell to go along with the supreme leader.

Khamenei’s speech began with a prayer calling on the faithful to deepen their relationship with God.

In a veiled reference to the recent demonstrations and clashes he told young people that they are in danger of losing the peace and calm that faith provides, which is what happened to their Western counterparts.

After a pause, he addressed the matter of the elections. After praising everyone—Rafsanjani, Mousavi, Kharroubi, Ahmadinejad—he stressed on how leaders are also responsible for the violence.

Thus he demanded that all demonstrations come to and end, that “both parties” reject violence (even though violence came only from one side, from the revolution’s vigilantes who are close to Ahmadinejad) and that everyone who has any complaint about the elections do so through “legal means.”

For his part he said that the outcome has to be decided by the ballot box, not the streets. The high turnout (85 per cent) shows people trust in the Islamic government.

Relying on his own authority Khamenei insisted the Islamic Republic does not cheat, noting that 11 million votes (the gap between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi) “cannot be rigged.”

Instead he accused Iran’s “enemies” of trying to destroy the country, of working before and during the elections, against it. He urged the population and media not to be taken it by this.

Tomorrow the Guardian Council is scheduled to recount some of the disputed ballot boxes and meet with the defeated candidates.

Altogether the latter lodged complaints for a total of 646 violations of the electoral law.

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