Tehran: Ayatollah Khamenei endorses Ahmadinejad’s election
Iran’s president will be sworn in on 5 August. Main opposition leaders were absent from ceremony, including former President Rafsanjani and defeated candidate Mousavi. Ahmadinejad must still assemble his cabinet and get parliament’s approval.

Tehran (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has formally endorsed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the winner of Iran's 12 June presidential election, Iranian state TV Al-Alam reported two days before the official inauguration of the president’s second term in office, scheduled for next Wednesday.

The ayatollah backed the incumbent amid allegations of election fraud by the opposition and numerous post-election demonstrations broken up by the use of violent force.

For the supreme leader Ahmadinejad’s victory was the result of “a fight against arrogance” and to “spread justice”

The event, which was not broadcast on TV, was not attended by the main opposition leaders like former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, both defeated in the 12 June election.

Ahmadinejad, 52, is due to be sworn in before the Majlis (parliament) on Wednesday for a second time as president of the Islamic Republic.

Despite the formal support of the supreme leader, he has come under fire from the opposition and his own hard line camp, which has questioned his loyalty to Khamenei.

Recently, Ahmadinejad’s appointment of Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai as first vice president, a choice disowned by the supreme leader, was a clear sign of tensions within the leadership.

The president will also have to face the challenge of assembling a “credible” cabinet that could secure parliamentary approval.

Opponents accuse Ahmadinejad of political incompetence and gaining power in rigged elections. He is also accused of mismanaging the economy during his first term—at a time when the country enjoyed windfall oil revenues—stocking inflation, wasting resources and manipulating statistics to cover up his failures.

The swearing-in ceremony is set to take place against a backdrop of renewed repression by the authorities against opponents and demonstrators.

Last Saturday more than 100 pro-reform and pro-democracy activists were put on trial in Tehran charged with conspiracy, rioting and vandalism. The trial continued yesterday.

Former president and moderate leader Mohammad Khatami slammed the trial against the opposition, saying that it was illegal, violated the constitution and denied citizens their rights.

In a clear reference to charges that prisoners were tortured and abused, the opposition leader also said that confessions were extorted under dubious circumstances.