Jerusalem — Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei denied that the country’s recent elections were fixed, called on protesters to stop and blamed the “Zionist” media.
In his first public address since the June 12 elections, Iran’s highest ranking political and religious authority accused the opposition of “challenging democracy after the elections.”
Khamenei delivered a nearly two-hour sermon during Friday prayers at Tehran University, reportedly attended by tens of thousands of worshipers. He called on the opposition to take their protests off of the streets and to instead use legal channels to register their complaints about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s victory.
Turnout at the ballot box has been officially set at 85 percent, or 40 million voters, with Ahmadinejad winning by a margin of 11 million votes, or 60 percent of the vote. “How one can rig 11 million votes?” he asked. “The Islamic republic state would not cheat and would not betray the vote of the people.”
Khamenei blamed the “media belonging to Zionists, evil media” for fomenting the demonstrations.
He also warned that if street demonstrations don’t end, then “leading politicians will be held accountable for the chaos.”
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