Iran’s supreme leader blamed enemies and outsiders on Monday for the turmoil that followed last month’s presidential elections, according to an Iranian news agency.
To a gathering in Tehran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused Western governments of having “clearly meddled in the internal affairs of Iran” and the American and European media of depicting Iranians “as rioters,” according to Fars News Agency. He warned that meddling from presidents, prime ministers and foreign ministers would hurt those nations’ relations with Iran, according to Fars. He said Iranians would see through the “lies” of Western governments and “know that your objective is to create doubt amongst them and propagate hate against the system of the Islamic Republic.” While “disappointment and sorrow” from voters when their candidate lost the June 12 election was “natural,” Khamenei said, he condemned involvement by “outsiders” in the civil unrest that gripped the country after the balloting. Government results showed that incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad won in a landslide over his nearest rival, Mir Hossein Moussavi.
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Widespread street protests followed, during which at least 20 demonstrators died and more than 1,000 were arrested, according to Iranian state-run media. The numbers of casualties and arrests could not be independently verified by CNN because the Iranian government has banned international journalists. The crackdown on the media followed widespread dissemination of video of the mass protests. Khamenei described American and European media coverage of the protests as “disrespectful to the people of Iran.” Despite any internal differences, Iranians would come together against their “enemy,” he said, referring to outsiders. “When it comes to confronting the enemy, even with various differences and viewpoints, [Iranians] will become united and be as one punch against them,” he said.