"While dictators rage and statesmen talk, all Europe dances — to The Lambeth Walk."

Friday, 19 June 2009

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Backs Iranian Election Result

Iran's supreme leader has finally broken his silence to throw his support behind Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the victor in the Iranian presidential election.

From the Telegraph:

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared that the election in which Presidential Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was controversially declared the winner was "over".

In a clear endorsement of the incumbent president, the Supreme Leader said that his own views were closest to Mr Ahmadinejad's vision for Iran's foreign policy than that of any other candidate.

In a long sermon at Friday prayers at Tehran University, he also warned demonstrators that they must stop their daily protests.

The election's outcome was a vindication of the Islamic Republic, he said, and stated that there was "no cheating".

In an attempt to stave off a formal split in the regime, he declared all four candidates were part of the Islamic system. "The competition for the election was very clear and we can until now we can witness that the competition was among four persons who are from and belong to the Islamic system," he said.

He said that on the basis of an 85 per cent turnout, the vote was an earthquake for the country's enemies. "If the people did not trust in the system they would not participate in it," he said. "Iran's enemies are targeting the beliefs and trust of the people."

He declared that Iran was a functioning democracy, a message he said he wanted to send to Western countries "which are leaders of the media".

He said: "These divisions come from the Zionist radio and the bad British radio trying to change the meaning of the election."

He also branded the British government the 'most treacherous' in the world as he addressed followers for the first time since the country's disputed election.

The cleric used Friday prayers to make his extraordinary attack. After he spoke, thousands of supporters who had packed a hall at Tehran University chanted: 'Death to the UK, America and Israel'.

Khamenei told his audience that there was no doubt Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had won the election and secured a second term as president.

'Some of our enemies in different parts of the world intended to depict this absolute victory, this definite victory, as a doubtful victory, ' he said.

Despite this attempt at a display of unity, two of the four presidential candidates were not present, including Mousavi.

Yesterday supporters of Ahmadinejad's main rival, Mir Hossein Mousavi, held a day of mourning for those shot in protests earlier this week.

The huge protests and unrest have moved even hard-liner Ahmadinejad, who was forced to backtrack on comments about the protesters:

Overnight Mr Ahmadinejad was forced to backtrack on his previous dismissal of the protesters as "dust" and sore losers.

"I was only addressing those who rioted, set fires and attack people. I said they are nothing," said Mr Ahmadinejad. "Every single Iranian is valuable. Government is a service to all."

Mousavi is still demanding a full recount and if necessary another election. His supporters show no signs of backing down. Khamenei alluded to harsher clampdowns, however:

Ayatollah Khamenei acknowledged some "different points of view" with the veteran powerbroker.

He condemned "black" attacks on Mr Admadinejad, who he praised as hardworking. The Supreme Leader said Mr Ahmadinejad's views on "social justice" were "closer to mine". Drawing cheers of "God is Great", he said the Basij militia, or religious police, would stand against the protesters.

The Jerusalem Post reported earlier his week that there is strong evidence of an Arab presence among the government's thugs and militias - potentially even the presence of Hamas members:

“The most important thing that I believe people outside of Iran should be aware of,” the young man went on, “is the participation of Palestinian forces in these riots.”

Another protester, who spoke as he carried a kitchen knife in one hand and a stone in the other, also cited the presence of Hamas in Teheran.

On Monday, he said, “my brother had his ribs beaten in by those Palestinian animals. Taking our people’s money is not enough, they are thirsty for our blood too.”

It was ironic, this man said, that the victorious Ahmadinejad “tells us to pray for the young Palestinians, suffering at the hands of Israel.” His hope, he added, was that Israel would “come to its senses” and ruthlessly deal with the Palestinians.

When asked if these militia fighters could have been mistaken for Lebanese Shi’ites, sent by Hizbullah, he rejected the idea. “Ask anyone, they will tell you the same thing. They [Palestinian extremists] are out beating Iranians in the streets… The more we gave this arrogant race, the more they want… [But] we will not let them push us around in our own country.”

It is believed that at least twenty people have been killed in the protests so far.

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