Published: Thu, May 11, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Iran: Ayatollah Khamenei Warns Against Damaging National Interests In Vote

Iran: Ayatollah Khamenei Warns Against Damaging National Interests In Vote

"The security of the country must be completely preserved during the election", Khamenei said.

Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said Iran's adversaries intend to provoke unrest to undermine its security as a prelude to their long-term plot of overthrowing the Islamic Republic, warning that those who act against national security during the election time would be strictly dealt with.

In this picture released by official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, May 10, 2017, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during a graduation ceremony of a group of the Revolutionary Guard cadets in Tehran, Iran.

"Anyone who deviates from this path should certainly know that they will be given a slap", he added. Meanwhile, windows at a campaign office of President Hassan Rouhani were broken by vandals.

Guardian journalist Saeed Kamali Dehghan tweeted a photograph of one of Rouhani's vandalized campaign offices. "A Rouhani campaign office in Tehran was attacked midday today, says Iranian Labour News Agency, a few days after a similar attack on one of his other offices", he wrote.

Iran's intelligence minister Mahmoud Alavi said his agents had disrupted a plot to cause disruptions, with young gangs reportedly being paid to fight each other, Al Araby reports. He faces five opponents, chief among them hard-liner Ebrahim Raisi, a close ally of Khamenei.

If nobody wins more than 50 percent of the votes cast in the first round on May 19, there will be a runoff a week later.

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.

The decision came a month after Iran's permanent representative to the United Nations in NY sent a diplomatic note to Canadian officials requesting that polling stations be established for the May 19 election, according to the Iranian interests section at the Pakistani embassy in Washington. In the lead up to the elections, hardliners were concerned that Soros was working to influence elections.

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