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As fresh protests spread, top official assails opposition


One day after thousands of Iranians showed no sign of compliance with June’s disputed presidential election, a top official chastises the opposition for “not seeing that people are rejoicing” over the vote result.

“Somehow, some are unable to see that the people are rejoicing [over the election result],” Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati said during his Friday prayers sermon.

His remarks came after tens of thousands of Iranians on Thursday defied a government ban and gathered in Tehran’s main cemetery to mourn some 30 people killed in the aftermath of the election. At least 50 protesters were arrested in the protests.

Former Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi, one of the public symbols of the opposition, claims that the June 12 vote was stolen from him in a widespread fraud. He and his supporters, as well as former candidate Mehdi Karroubi, demand a re-run of the vote.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was re-elected with almost two-thirds of nearly 40 million votes. The result was approved by the Guardian Council, the electoral watchdog headed by Ayatollah Jannati.

On Friday, the Principlist cleric once again rejected outright any doubts about the vote and echoed an assertion by Ahmadinejad that the vote was the “healthiest” since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

“If they say that this election be annulled, then all elections in the last 30 years should be annulled as every election was organized by the Interior Ministry and supervised by the Guardian Council,” said Jannati.

In one of the most ferocious assaults on the opposition, the cleric claimed that the unrest was four years in the making.

He recalled the 9th presidential election in 2005 when Ahmadinejad defeated influential cleric and official Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani by some 7 million votes.

“After defeat was inflicted on a certain figure four years ago, those who could not stand a young man in power colluded against him,” Jannati was quoted by the Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA) as saying. “Since then, they have planned to avenge (their loss).”

The accusations of vote fraud were instigated by foreign media and governments before June 12, Jannati said. “Some inside the country followed up on the issue.”

In a letter to the Leader of the Islamic Revolution on June 9, Ayatollah Rafsanjani, a two-time president who currently heads both the top political arbitration body and the clerical body, asked Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei to take necessary action to ensure a “clean” election amid accusations of possible fraud.

“It seems necessary that the nation and your Excellency’s demand is to hold a clean and glorious election with a high turnout be met,” read the letter. “This can save the country from dangers and create national confidence and unity.”

In an allusion to the letter, Ayatollah Jannati said the pre-election claims had alarmed him about the planned “plots.”

He also went on to say that the blood of those who were killed in the unrest was on the hands of opposition leaders, Fars News Agency reported.

“You were behind these unrests. You are responsible for the bloodshed… Now you go to their graves and offer prayers?” Jannati said. “Sooner or later, you will be punished for your unlawful acts.”

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