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Khamenei Endorses Ahmadinejad?

29 May 2011 20:22Comments

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Press Roundup provides a selected summary of news from the Farsi and Arabic press and excerpts where the source is in English. Tehran Bureau has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy. Please refer to the Media Guide to help put the stories in perspective. You can follow breaking news stories on our Twitter feed.

Our columnist Muhammad Sahimi gives the following account of Ayatollah Khamenei's speech to MPs on Sunday:

In a speech to the Majles and its newly elected leadership, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei tried once again to downplay factional politics, especially since it has been plaguing relations between parliament and members of the Ahmadinejad administration. He said that one goal of the enemy is to create divisions among the country's officials, and he warned, "All the officials must be careful not to allow their differences to become a challenge [for the country] and create confrontation [within the political system]." He added that attending to important issues and avoidance of arrogance are two crucial ingredients for "victory against the planned [cultural] invasion of the enemies.... If we neglect the important tasks and just become preoccupied with minor issues, or arrogantly assume that the enemy is weak and pitiful, defeat by the enemy is certain."

After declaring that ever since the 1979 Revolution over 30 elections have taken place in Iran on time, Khamenei reiterated the concern of his supporters that the Ahmadinejad administration may try to manipulate the upcoming Majles vote, to be held next March 2, saying, "No one should, in any shape or form, intervene in the elections, so that the elections can be held according to the laws and the Majles can be elected by people's vote."

The only time that Khamenei mentioned Ahmadinejad's government indirectly was when he spoke of the necessity of implementing the laws passed by the Majles, saying, "Once a law is passed, the government must do all it can in its power and without any excuses act according to it. The composition of the government is good, and is working, and the Majles and the government must help each other."

The Los Angeles Times saw Khamenei's speech in a rather different light, characterizing it as an endorsement of the government's chief executive: "Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, endorsed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Sunday as Khamenei looked to resolve a months-long rift among the country's conservative power elite."

Copyright © 2011 Tehran Bureau

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