Friday, June 4, 2010
Khamenei delivers dire threat to opposition leaders
Referring to Islamic history, Khamenei recounted how Imam Ali, the first imam of Shiites and Muhammed's son-in-law, led his forces from Medina against former allies who had strayed from the true path in the 7th century AD.
In an allusion to the two men in particular, and dozens of senior leaders from opposition parties who also held important functions within the apparatus but have been imprisoned or otherwise silenced since the presidential election, Khamenei said that the true criteria for judging individuals is their current positions towards the regime, not their pasts.
Mousavi and Karroubi ran in the disputed June 12 election of last year after the Guardian Council validated their candidacies. Mohsen Rezai, the former commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps during the Iran-Iraq War, was the fourth candidate. All three men initially made accusations of fraud after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner, although Rezai subsequently retracted his charges and tempered his critique of the government.
Rezai was present in the audience at today's sermon. Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the Expediency Council chief and Assembly of Experts president, was also there, sitting in the front row, a few places away from Ahmadinejad who has famously accused him and his family of corruption.
Ahmadinejad employed the same bellicose tone and themes in his speech which preceded Khamenei's. Stressing that the Islamic Republic has the most democratic government in the world and that he had really garnered 25 million votes, Ahmadinejad said it was strange that the opposition leaders claimed they were followers of Khomeini's path, when they were actually moving in line with 'monarchists [...] and world arrogance (NB The US or Western powers) who were the worst enemies of the Imam.'
'According to the Imam, preserving the regime is of the highest importance,' Ahmadinejad said. 'I am sorry to say that those who are tarnishing the reputation of the Islamic Republic cannot claim to be followers of the Imam.'