AFP: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad lashed out at his opponents on Friday, saying they will be “thrown away” by the people, as he spoke at the 21st death anniversary of revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
TEHRAN (AFP) — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad lashed out at his opponents on Friday, saying they will be “thrown away” by the people, as he spoke at the 21st death anniversary of revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
The hardliner accused his political opponents, who continue to reject his re-election last year, of deviating from Khomeini’s path of thinking and siding with Iran’s “worst enemies.”
“Whoever deviates from the path of Imam (Khomeini), despite whatever power he holds, he will be thrown away by the strong hand of the people,” Ahmadinejad said at the mausoleum of Khomeini in south Tehran as crowds of people shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest) and “Death to America! Death to Israel!”.
Defending his re-election which opposition leaders like Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi claim was a result of mass vote rigging, the Iranian president said his victory was an example of a “100 percent free election.”
“The record of democracy was broken in the world. The Iranian government is the most democratic government in the world and last year we witnessed it,” he said.
“Our late Imam always defended the vote of the people, the same way as the supreme leader (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei) defended the people’s vote and stood against decaying power,” he added, referring to last year’s decisive Friday prayer sermon by Khamenei in which he openly backed Ahmadinejad’s victory.
The disputed election result on June 12 last year plunged the Islamic republic into one of its worst crises, with hundreds of thousands of people taking to the streets in the immediate aftermath of the vote to protest Ahmadinejad’s re-election.
Dozens of people were killed in the unrest which followed, while hundreds were wounded and thousands jailed, including top reformists, political activists and journalists.
Continuing his tirade against the opposition leaders, Ahmadinejad said it was strange they were “claiming they were followers of Khomeini’s pure path” when they were moving in line with the “monarchists… and world arrogance (Western powers) who were the worst enemies of the Imam.”
“According to the Imam, preserving the regime is of the highest importance… I am sorry to say that those who are tarnishing the reputation of the Islamic republic cannot claim to be followers of the Imam.”
Iranians are marking the 21st death anniversary of Khomeini at his shrine in south Tehran.
Officials say more than two million people are attending the anniversary, with Khamenei, who succeeded Khomeini as the supreme leader, set to lead the weekly prayers for the first time since his decisive sermon in support of Ahmadinejad’s re-election last June.