Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Iran News - Iran's Khamenei defends 'reputable' Rafsanjani

Iran News - Iran's Khamenei defends 'reputable' Rafsanjani: "Iran's Khamenei defends 'reputable' Rafsanjani

Wednesday, June 29, 2005 - ©2005

LONDON, June 29 (IranMania) - Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei defended defeated presidential election candidate Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani following his bitter attack on alleged rigging in the vote.

However Iran's number one also dismissed as "enemy" propaganda allegations that the hardline Basij militia was involved in illegal interference in the election, which saw Tehran mayor Mahmood Ahmadinejad storm to a stunning victory, according to AFP.

"There was some unjust and unfair defamation of some candidates such as the reputable and experienced character of Mr Rafsanjani, which did not happen out of negligence," state television quoted Khamenei as telling a public meeting.

"The judiciary must find and prosecute these elements."

Rafsanjani reacted bitterly to his defeat, which leaves him facing an uncertain political future, alleging that tens of millions of dollars was used in an orchestrated smear campaign to defame him and his family.

"All the means of the regime were used in an organised and illegal way to intervene in the election," Rafsanjani fumed in a statement released hours after the results were announced at the weekend.

"I do not intend to file a complaint to jurists who have shown that they cannot or do not want to do anything," Rafsanjani added.

Many observers saw Rafsanjani's election bid as a challenge to the overwhelming power of Khamenei, the regime's undisputed number one, even though the two publicly insist they are close friends.

Rafsanjani has also led accusations from three defeated candidates that the ultra-conservative Ahmadinejad's victory in the election was backed illegally by well-financed regime elements, including the Basij.

But state television quoted Khamenei as saying: "Some have unfortunately questioned the dearest sections of this country, the pious Basij, which is not true... these are attempts by enemies to provoke disturbances."

Khamenei added that none of the seven candidates who lined up for the vote were to blame for a smear campaign or the allegations against the Basij, which he said were down to elements that "had no interest in any of the candidates."

He urged the judiciary to make arrests and "expose the enemies' hand in this to people", according to state television."


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