Khamenei tells Iranians: criticising election will help enemies

DUBAI Tue Jan 8, 2013 9:45pm IST

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei departs after casting his ballot in the parliamentary election in Tehran March 2, 2012. REUTERS/Caren Firouz/Files

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei departs after casting his ballot in the parliamentary election in Tehran March 2, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Caren Firouz/Files

Related Topics

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran's most powerful leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, warned the Iranian public on Tuesday against helping Tehran's enemies by criticising the forthcoming presidential election.

Iranians go to the polls in June to elect a successor to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Iran's leadership is keen to avoid a repeat of the widespread protests that followed the last presidential vote in 2009.

Khamenei's comments appear to be a response to a debate inside Iran about whether reformist candidates - those with a more moderate stance on issues such as social policy and greater political freedoms - should be allowed to run.

"Everyone, even those who make general recommendations about the election through (expressing) c oncerns, should take care not to serve the purpose of the enemy," Khamenei said in a statement published on his official website.

Analysts say reformist candidates may be allowed to run for election if they distance themselves from the two 2009 presidential candidates, Mirhossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi, who have been under house arrest for nearly two years.

The two opposition leaders alleged Ahmadinejad's landslide reelection was rigged and they became figureheads for the "green movement" anti-government demonstrations across Iran, the biggest opposition protests since the 1979 revolution.

The government denied vote rigging and said the protests had been stirred up by Iran's foreign enemies as part of a plot to overthrow the Islamic Republic's system of government.

Reformist groups are torn between participating in the election and boycotting it unless Mousavi and Karoubi are freed. Their position is expected to be debated at a meeting of reformist groups later this month.

Last month, former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said that a free, transparent and legal election could pave the way for "restoration of moderation" in the country, the Tehran Times newspaper reported.

Longstanding enmity between Iran and the West has deepened in recent years, with increasingly severe sanctions led by the United States and European Union, designed to halt Iran's nuclear programme, strangling the economy.

Iran says its nuclear project has only peaceful purposes and has refused in three rounds of international talks since April to scale back its uranium enrichment activity unless major economic sanctions are rescinded.

(Reporting By Marcus George; Editing by William Maclean and Robin Pomeroy)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Hong Kong Protests

Hong Kong Protests

Hong Kong protests approach potential National Day flashpoint.  Full Article 

Seeking Reassurance

Seeking Reassurance

Amid differences, Israel's Netanyahu to seek reassurances from Obama on Iran.  Full Article 

Ebola in U.S.

Ebola in U.S.

Traveler from Liberia is first Ebola patient diagnosed in U.S  Full Article 

Fighting IS

Fighting IS

Australian aircraft to support U.S.-led air strikes in Iraq - PM.  Full Article 

Indonesia Politics

Indonesia Politics

President manages hopes as hostile parliament convenes  Full Article 

Security Breach

Security Breach

U.S. lawmakers rebuke Secret Service over White House breach  Full Article 

Palestinian Occupation

Palestinian Occupation

Jewish settlers occupy Palestinian homes in Old City's shadow  Full Article 

Ebola Chronology

Ebola Chronology

Worst Ebola outbreak on record tests global response  Full Article 

Blurring Lines

Blurring Lines

In al Qaeda attack, lines between Pakistan military, militants blur  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage