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Khamenei Denies Intervening in Presidential Elections, Criticizes Economy | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei poses before delivering a speech marking Nowruz, Iranian new year, in this handout photo released by the Iranian Supreme Leader website on March 20, 2016. REUTERS/leader.ir/Handout

London- Addressing a large gathering of Iranian people Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei stressed the importance of public participation in the upcoming presidential election.

“What is primarily important for this humble being is your taking part in the election. All those who can vote should participate in the election; this is our primary and most important request,” he said.

Khamenei emphasized the importance of actions based on law and said, “On the issue of elections, the exact requirements of the law should be acted upon. Therefore, whatever the result may be, it will be valid. It will be legal.”

Warning against refusing to accept election results, the supreme leader said, “I would never intervene in the elections, and I wouldn’t even say whom to vote for. I would only do so when specific people and circles want to undermine the results of elections, as occurred in past elections.”

“Whoever does not accept the results of people’s votes, I would stand up to them. In 1997, 2001, 2005, 2009 and 2013 presidential elections, this happened and I stood up.”

Sometimes, this happens right before the eyes of the people. And in other cases, this humble person was informed while the people were not,” he said in Iranian New Year remarks carried live on state television.

“It was revealed in 2009 – they came out and drew battle lines. And in other years in other ways, but in all these years I stood against them and said whatever the results of the election are, they must be carried out.”

Two of the candidates from the 2009 presidential election, which put hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad into office for a second term despite large protests over alleged voter fraud that shook the Islamic Republic, have been under house arrest since 2011.

Mir Hussein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi were detained for calling for street protests at the same time that pro-democracy uprisings were convulsing Tunisia and Egypt.

He noted that there are weaknesses in the management of the government he leads, but not among the general movement of the Islamic establishment.

Khamenei said on Monday the government’s economic policies had fallen short and called for a new “resistance economy” to create jobs, piling pressure on the president before May elections.

Hardliners led by Khamenei have repeatedly criticized President Hassan Rouhani, particularly for the terms of a nuclear deal he reached with world powers, which lifted economic sanctions and was supposed to boost the economy.

“I feel the pain of the poor and lower class people with my soul, especially because of high prices, unemployment and inequalities,” Khamenei said in his New Year’s, or Nowruz, message.

“The government has taken positive steps but they do not meet people’s expectations and mine,” he added, setting out a clear battle line before the presidential vote.

“Wherever we had revolutionary, active, and dynamic management systems, we progressed. Wherever we had weak, desperate, non-revolutionary, non-active management systems, our tasks were either left behind or had gone astray,” Khamenei said.

He urged managers and authorities to be more active, and said that managers should be more motivated and efficient.

“I firmly argue that if the management from various sectors are faith based, revolutionary and efficient, all problems of Iran would be solved; we don’t have unsolvable problems.”