x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Khamenei rules out electoral fraud

Iran's supreme leader says the country's recent presidential elections shows off the country's religious democracy for the world to see.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said that high turnout in the disputed presidential poll showed the people's trust in the Islamic system and ruled out any major fraud. They had picked who they wanted and all 40 million people who voted were voting to support the 1979 Islamic revolution, not just the 24.5 million who voted to re-elect the president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, he said. "I see some people as more suitable for serving the country than others but the people made their choice," Mr Khamenei said in a televised sermon at Friday prayers in front of a congregation of thousands. "The president's opinion is closer to my opinion but the people were not told what I want," he said, noting that all the candidates support Iran's system of government and insisting he would have accepted any of the four as president. The Supreme Leader ruled out the possibility that major fraud was behind Mr Ahmadinejad's return to office and called for an end to the opposition demonstrations. "The legal mechanisms in our country do not allow cheating. how can one cheat with a margin of 11 million votes?" he asked. Any doubts about elements of the results must be investigated through legal channels, Mr Khamenei said, calling for a halt to demonstrations which have brought hundreds of thousands onto the streets in the week since the election. He said the opposition will be blamed for any violence linked to those protests. "I want to tell everyone these things (street demos) must finish. These street actions are being done to put pressure on leaders but we will not bow in front of them. I ask everyone to put an end to these things," Mr Khamenei said. He condemned concerns expressed by western countries about the legitimacy of the results. "Today top diplomats of several western countries who talked to us previously within diplomatic formalities are showing their real face and most of all, the British government," the supreme leader said. * AFP