Ayatollah Khamenei

Iran’s Supreme Leader has called on all government officials not to allow any turmoil in the country’s political atmosphere as the presidential election approaches.

Ayatollah Khamenei said in a speech on Monday during a visit to Northern Khorasan province: “In the remaining time leading up to the election and during the election, all officials must make every effort to keep the peace and refrain from turmoil in the political atmosphere of the country.”

He called on all politicians, leaders and spokespeople to avoid any address or action that could lead to political unrest.

Iran’s last presidential election led to widespread protests over allegations of vote fraud. Ayatollah Khamenei chose to dismiss allegations of fraud and supported the declared victory of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The two reformist candidates that had challenged the outcome of the election, refusing to recognize the legitimacy of Ahmadinejad’s victory, were finally put under house arrest and have been held in this manner since February of 2011.

The crackdown on protests also led to scores of deaths and thousands of arrests. Many political activists were given harsh sentences, which they are serving now, and authorities labelled the protests as sedition.

The eleventh presidential election will be held in June of 2013 but the possibility of the reformists returning to the political arena in the elections is still under question.