08/27/2009, 00.00
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Ali Khamenei: No foreign power behind the protests in Tehran

The Supreme Leader of Iran rules out that Western governments were behind the demonstrations. He confirms that there is "no evidence" but adds that the mass demonstrations were planned in advance. The ayatollah has distanced himself from the hard line promoted by conservatives and President Ahmadinejad.

Tehran (AsiaNews / Agencies) - There is no evidence that the leaders of the anti-government protests were supported by foreign powers, especially Britain and the United States. So says that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran, in a statement released yesterday by Iranian state television.

The conservative wing has repeatedly accused Western governments of plotting to destabilize the country, fomenting weeks of riots after the presidential elections held June12. The election was won by the outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, elected to a second term; the moderates in  opposition, led by Hossein Moussavi and Karroubi, accused the government of fraud.  

On 8 July, in the first televised speech after his victory at the polls, President Ahmadinejad reiterated the charge that "the West is undermining the vote and fomenting public protests," the largest public demonstrations since the Islamic revolution of 1979, with a death toll of dozens and thousands of arrests.

The Supreme Leader of Iran, disproving the theory of the president, has categorically ruled out links between the protesters and foreign countries. "I do not accuse the leaders of the protests - said Khamenei – of being at the service of foreign powers, such as the United States and Britain, since the issue has not been proven”. The ayatollah also adds that "there is no doubt" that the mass demonstrations were planned in advance, "regardless of whether the leaders knew about them or not”.

In the meantime, mass trials against the protagonists of the uprising continue. Hundreds of opponents are in court in what are being called "show trials". Foreign diplomats and foreign nationals are also indicted, including a French student later released on bail.  

The hardline wing of the country is calling for the arrest of Moussa and Karroubi - both defeated in the race for the presidency in June 12 by Ahmadinejad – and of former President Akbar Rafsanjani. Khamenei's aims to reduce tensions between the two blocks that divide the country.

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