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.

 


US bolsters Middle East force with 1,500 troops as Pentagon blames Iran for tanker attacks

Updated 24 May 2019
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US bolsters Middle East force with 1,500 troops as Pentagon blames Iran for tanker attacks

  • Donald Trump says the additional troops would serve a 'mostly protective' role
  • The US began reinforcing its presence in the Arabian Gulf region earlier this month

WASHINGTON: The US will strengthen its force in the Middle East with 1,500 extra troops, Donald Trump said Friday as the Pentagon blamed Iran for an attack on oil tankers off the coast of the UAE.

"We want to have protection in the Middle East," Trump said as he left the White House for a trip to Japan. "We're going to be sending a relatively small number of troops, mostly protective.
"Some very talented people are going to the Middle East right now. And we'll see what happens."

Shortly after his comments, the Pentagon accused Iran's Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) of being directly responsible for attacks on tankers off the UAE earlier this month, describing it as part of a "campaign" by Tehran driving new US deployments.
"The attack against the shipping in Fujairah we attribute it to the IRGC," said Rear Admiral Michael Gilday, the director of the Joint Staff, adding the Pentagon attributed limpet mines used in the attack to the IRGC. He declined to describe "the means of delivery" of the mines.

The 1,500 extra troops will be made up of a deployment of 900 more forces, including engineers, and the extension of a tour by some 600 personnel manning Patriot missiles.

Officials said earlier that members of Congress were notified following a White House meeting Thursday to discuss Pentagon proposals to bolster the force in the region.
Earlier this week, officials said that Pentagon planners had outlined plans that could have sent up to 10,000 military reinforcements to the region. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan later said planners had not settled on a figure.
The US began reinforcing its presence in the Arabian Gulf region this month in response to what it said was a threat from Iran.

*With AP and Reuters