Iran's Supreme Leader warns against disrupting presidential vote

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei gestures as he speaks during a meeting with Iranian officials and ambassadors of Islamic countries in Tehran

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday warned that the enemy of the country want to use the ongoing campaigns in the run for Iran's upcoming presidential election to create insecurity and turmoil in the country, official IRNA news agency reported.

"The hype over Iran's missile capability is due to their (enemies) spite and anger about this element of power in Iran", Khamenei said to commanders of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps.

"Participation of people in election while observing order, morality, Islamic obligations & law, is source of the Islamic Republic's dignity", Leader said, urging presidential candidates to pay attention to economic issues, national dignity and security in their campaigns.

"Anybody wanting to take any measure against the country's security in the election will certainly receive a hard reaction and slap in the face", Ayatollah Khamenei underlined.

Khamenei also referred to a "wealthy American Zionist merchant" trying to interfere in Iran's 2009 election in his comments, likely referring to liberal billionaire George Soros.

At an event held in an Iranian University, the student proclaimed that young and stylish women are being used in the current presidential campaign to lure male students into voting for Rouhani. In 2009, former hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election led to months of unrest and dozens of deaths. They said another office previously had been targeted as well.

Khamenei has the final say over policy in Iran and has repeatedly distanced himself from Rouhani in recent weeks.

Rouhani also questioned the tax-exempt status of a charitable foundation linked to Iran's supreme leader and suggested in a televised debate Friday that Iran's most influential security institution, the Revolutionary Guard Corps, tried to sabotage the 2015 nuclear deal he struck with world powers. He faces five opponents, chief among them hard-liner Ebrahim Raisi, a close ally of Khamenei.



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