London- “They are trying to twist facts believing that they could undermine the government, but their actions would only lead to frustrating Iranians and damaging the regime, the country and the people,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday.
His harsh criticism was delivered a few hours ahead of opening registration for candidates running in the 2017 municipal and presidential elections in Iran.
Sadeq Larijani, Iran’s incumbent chief of justice, made provocative claims on a United States plotting to interfere in the Iranian elections. Larijani said that those responsible would not allow for the return of the 2009 ‘rabble-rousing.’
Referring to recent remarks by US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley about the unrest, Iran’s Larijani said such interfering remarks show that the Americans may be hatching plots for the upcoming elections in Iran.
Speaking at the US Council on Foreign Relations last week, Haley pointed to the 2009 unrest in Iran as an example of the “UN ignoring human rights” and said, “the international elite had other priorities for Iran,” echoing those who criticized the Obama administration and others for declining to fully support the riots.
Larijani added that “countries like the US should recognize that in case of interferences like this (backing the seditionists in 2009), they will receive a very strong slap in the face,” reported Tehran-based news agency Tasnim.
In Iran’s 2009 presidential elections, people took to streets to protest the results, disputing the authenticity of the victory by former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and in support of opposition reformist candidates Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi. Demonstrations occurred in major cities nationwide stretching from 2009 into 2010.
On the first working day after Nowruz, also known as the Persian New Year, Rouhani met a number of heads of executive bodies and reviewed methods of bolstering government defense.
“The frustration spreading among the people, keeping them from participating in the elections, plays into the benefit of enemies,” Rouhani said at the meeting.
With just a month-and-half left to the presidential polls, Rouhani backed elections, saying that they are key to “democracy” and are a “principle of legitimacy”.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran relies on the people’s vote and election and the country’s long term objectives are fulfilled in this way,” he said in his meeting with state directors and managers.
However, Rouhani once again dodged directly addressing controversy around his candidacy. Rouhani’s chances of another term in office remain insecure, with rising predictions that he will be barred from the presidential race.
Iran’s 12th presidential election is scheduled for May 19, 2017. The country will simultaneously hold the 5th municipal elections on the level of city and village councils and also midterm parliamentary elections for a number of constituencies.