Iran's Supreme Leader Blames Protests on 'Zionist' Media

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei denied that the country’s recent elections were fixed, called on protesters to stop and blamed the “Zionist” media.

In his first public address since the June 12 elections, Iran’s highest ranking political and religious authority accused the opposition of “challenging democracy after the elections.”

Khamenei delivered a nearly two-hour sermon during Friday prayers at Tehran University, reportedly attended by tens of thousands of worshipers. He called on the opposition to take their protests off of the streets and to instead use legal channels to register their complaints about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s victory.

Turnout at the ballot box has been officially set at 85 percent, or 40 million voters, with Ahmadinejad winning by a margin of 11 million votes, or 60 percent of the vote. “How one can rig 11 million votes?” he asked. “The Islamic republic state would not cheat and would not betray the vote of the people.”

Khamenei blamed the “media belonging to Zionists, evil media” for fomenting the demonstrations.

He also warned that if street demonstrations don’t end, then “leading politicians will be held accountable for the chaos.”

Hundreds of thousands of protestors again on Thursday night demonstrated in the streets of Tehran, the sixth day of ever-increasing protests in the Islamic Republic’s capital.

“This election was a political earthquake for our enemies and a celebration for its friends,” Khamenei said. “This election showed religious democracy for the whole world to see.”

Reporters representing media from around the world have been barred from covering the demonstrations or opposition news conferences, and have been restricted to one transmission of news per day.

Iran’s Guardian Council, the main oversight body of the country’s constitution, was reportedly planning to convene a meeting of the three losing candidates to discuss their accusations, reportedly as early as Saturday.

Written by


Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Iran's Supreme Leader Blames Protests on 'Zionist' Media

Thank you!

This article has been sent!