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.

 


Yemeni spokesman says militants seek to ignite Hodeidah fighting

Updated 21 March 2019
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Yemeni spokesman says militants seek to ignite Hodeidah fighting

  • Renewed fighting in Hodeidah would risk severing the main passage for humanitarian aid
  • A senior Houthi member earlier said a withdrawal is “impossible”

CAIRO: Yemen’s militants are igniting more conflict by their refusal to give up control of the key port city of Hodeida, the focus of months of UN-brokered talks, a government spokesman said.
Renewed fighting in Hodeidah would risk severing the main passage for humanitarian aid to the rest of the country, including northern Yemen, a heartland of the Houthi militants.
Rageh Badi, spokesman for the internationally recognized Yemen government, denounced remarks by senior militant leader Mohammed Ali Al-Houthi who earlier this week told The Associated Press that the Saudi-led coalition, which backs the government side in the conflict, is trying to change the terms of the agreement struck last year in Sweden and that a militant withdrawal would therefore be “impossible.”
Badi told reporters at a press conference Wednesday in the southern city of Aden that such remarks could set off renewed fighting in Hodeidah, the key entry point for international aid to the war-torn country, and violate the tentative peace agreement reached by the two sides in Sweden.
The remarks are a “renunciation of the Hodeidah agreement and a declaration of war,” Badi said, urging the UN to step up pressure on the rebels to prevent another “explosion of the situation” in Hodeidah. Otherwise, renewed fighting is just a “few days” away, he added.