Friday, 19 June 2009
TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- Iran's supreme leader passionately defended last week's presidential election process Friday, praising President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's election as a "definitive victory" and sloughing off charges of vote-rigging.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addressed a crowd at Tehran University in a sermon during Friday prayers.
His speech was greatly anticipated amid massive protests from supporters of opposition leaders such as Mir Hossein Moussavi, who disputed the government's assertion that Ahmadinejad won in a landslide.
While Khamenei called on those who don't believe the results to use proper legal avenues, such as requesting the recounting of ballots in their presence, he did not issue a call for a new vote.
He also criticized the street protests and said those who caused violence during demonstrations would be held accountable.
Khamenei said Ahmadinejad got more than 24 million votes, defeating Moussavi, his main challenger.
"Eleven million votes difference? Sometimes there's a margin of 100,000, 200,000, or 1 million maximum. Then one can doubt maybe there has been some rigging or manipulation or irregularities," Khamenei said.
"But there's a difference of 11 million votes. How can vote rigging happen?" he asked.
Moussavi now knows what George Jones has known all along.
Posted on 06/19/2009 9:29 AM by Rebecca Bynum
19 Jun 2009
"Why Iran's Supreme Leader could be the protests' ultimate victim"