TEHRAN: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei yesterday called on all Iranians to take part in next week’s election to create a “political epic” and confound what he called Western efforts to “manipulate” the presidential race.
The objective is “to have people’s glorious presence at ballot boxes,” Khamenei said in a speech outside the Iranian capital aired live on state television. “Whoever you vote for, it will be a vote for the Islamic Republic, you will be indicating your trust in the political system.”
The presidential election on June 14 will be the first since the 2009 vote, which sparked street protests amid allegations that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election was the result of ballot fraud. Iranian officials have accused Western powers of spearheading the “sedition” that led to nationwide protests for days and resulted in the arrest of thousands.
Khamenei was addressing a crowd of supporters gathered for the annual ceremony commemorating the death of Islamic Republic founder Ayatollah Khomeini. He attacked Western nations, saying they aimed to undermine the government by discouraging Iranians from displaying support for their leaders.
“Our enemies overseas, those miserable enemies, want to threaten the Islamic establishment,” Khamenei said. “They want to prevent a massive turnout, they want to pretend that people have no interest.”
Khamenei said he had no favorite among the candidates participating in the race. Ali-Akbar, a farmer who traveled along with his family from the southeastern Kerman province to attend yesterday’s ceremony, said though undecided on who to pick he was sure to cast his ballot.
“I will vote for Khomeini and for our Supreme Leader,” said the 62 year-old, who didn’t want to give his last name because he was uncomfortable speaking to a foreign media organization.