Khamenei, with no favorite, urges high turnout in vote

Updated 06 June 2013
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Khamenei, with no favorite, urges high turnout in vote

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.

 


Pope to visit Morocco in March in big year for foreign trips

Updated 35 min ago
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Pope to visit Morocco in March in big year for foreign trips

  • The March visit is likely to feature migration, as well as touch on relations between Christians and Muslims
  • Francis has several trips under consideration for 2019, though Morocco is the first to be confirmed

VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis is going to Morocco in March in what is expected to be a heavy year of foreign travel for the 81-year-old pontiff.
The Vatican on Tuesday confirmed the March 30-31 visit to Rabat and Casablanca.
Previously, there were rumors that Francis would travel to Marrakesh next month to participate in the adoption of a new UN global compact on migration.
The March visit is likely to feature migration, as well as touch on relations between Christians and Muslims.
Francis has several trips under consideration for 2019, though Morocco is the first to be confirmed.
He is expected in Panama in January for World Youth Day. In addition, he has said he hopes to visit Japan, while a Madagascar cardinal says he’s expected next year.