Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks about Iranian presidential election protests at prayers

Friday, June 19, 2009

At Friday prayers today at the mosque of Tehran University, Supreme Leader of Iran Ali Khamenei spoke about the disturbances in Iran that have followed its recent presidential election. He stated that the elections had been fairly run, urged the opposition to stop the protests by demonstrators, and accused foreign countries, singling out the United Kingdom in particular, of interference in internal Iranian affairs.

Ali Khamenei issued a veiled warning to opposition leaders, including Mir Hossein Mousavi, who was not present in the prayer hall where Ali Khamenei was speaking, that street demonstrations were unacceptable and challenges to democracy. He stated that such street demonstrations must stop, and that if it did not, people would be held accountable.

The minarets of the mosque at the University of Tehran.
Image: Zereshk.

He called the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was present in the prayer hall, a definitive victory and stated that there had been no vote-rigging, an activity that he likened to the commission of treason, pointing to the 11 million vote margin by which Mahmoud had won as evidence of this.

He accused diplomatic representatives of foreign governments to Iran of casting aside their masks of courtesy and revealing their "true enmity towards the Iranian Islamic state", saying that "the most evil of them is the ­British government", a statement that was greeted by roars from the crowd before him of "Death to the English!".

He blamed foreign news media, which he described as partly Zionist-controlled, for incorrectly portraying Mir Hossein as being in conflict with the Islamic establishment, saying that "[t]hey have no right to say that. That is not true.".

He also accused the United States of hypocrisy, commenting on the contrast between U.S. President Barack Obama's letter offering better relations between the U.S. and Iran with his comments on the Iranian presidential election, and pointing to the U.S. military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq, saying "We do not need any advice on human rights from them.".

He similarly contrasted, albeit without explicitly naming their source, remarks made by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about human rights in Iran with the events of the FBI raid on the Branch Davidian cult's headquarters in Waco, Texas in 1993, where 75 people were killed.