Iranian hardliner Ahmad Khatami has denied that Iran’s Supreme Leader ever directed the public to vote for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the last presidential election.
In an interview with the Daneshoo News Agency, Khatami said: “We, as part of the 24 million people that voted for Ahmadinejad, we gathered that we should support the Ahmadinejad camp because they were probably closer to the position of the Supreme Leader, and this kind of positioning is what will be our guide so long as we are alive.”
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was backed by the conservative factions of the Islamic Republic but in the past few years he has fallen into dispute with them and at times has even appeared to be at odds with the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.
Iran’s Supreme Leader announced a few days prior to the controversial 2009 election that his ideas were closer to those of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Ahmadinejad was later declared the winner of the presidential race, but his victory was challenged by the two reformist candidates, MirHossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, which led to mass street protests, throwing the country into deep turmoil.
The two reformists candidates have been under house arrest since February 2011, but even some conservative figures have recently expressed the desire that they be released prior to the June election, and that reformists be given a chance to enter the political arena again.