Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has warned that parliamentary elections must not threaten the country’s security.
In his sermon to mark Fetr Eid, the culmination of the month of Ramadan, Ayatollah Khamenei said: “Elections, which are the symbol of the people’s presence, should be the main foundation of our security and must not be allowed to endanger our security.”
Iran is set to hold parliamentary elections next March. In view of the mass protests that followed the 2009 presidential election, which was marred by allegations of vote fraud in the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Islamic Republic establishment is making every effort to defuse political unrest in connection with the coming elections.
The Iranian leader, who has described the 2009 election protests as “sedition,” said today: “You saw and closely felt for yourselves how the enemy takes advantage of the elections to undermine our country’s security.”
He urged all officials and the people to “guard the elections” against all conspiracies.
Iranian authorities have cited high voter turnout as a mark of the system’s popularity.
After the crackdown on protesters in 2009, reformists have discussed boycotting the elections unless all political prisoners are released.
The reformist candidates in the last presidential election, MirHosein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, are currently under house arrest, and the government has cut them off from the outside world, accusing them of being “sedition leaders.”
Ayatollah Khamenei also referred to the popular uprisings in the region, describing them as a sign of people’s anger against the U.S. and Israel.
He warned, however: “The Muslim people of Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and other countries must remain alert not to allow their victory to be overtaken by the enemy.”
In reference to Libya, Ayatollah Khamenei condemned Western support for anti-Gaddafi forces, charging that the West gave similar support to Gaddafi no so long ago.
While Gaddafi was once blacklisted by the West as a supporter of terrorist groups, in recent years Libya paid damages to the victims of terrorist operations and was accepted back into the fold by Western governments.