Khamenei dismisses riots as interference

July 20, 2009 at 9:08 PM
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TEHRAN, July 20 (UPI) -- Iran's supreme leader, in a speech Monday, dismissed the riots after the country's presidential election as the result of interference by foreign governments.

His talk came one day after former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami said he wanted a referendum to settle the election, reformist Iranian Web sites reported.

"You are being tested. And failing this test will not only mean your failure, it would also mean your fall," Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in his remarks to officials, according to a text of his speech released by the government-run Islamic Republic News Agency to CNN.

"The media of the arrogant powers, in order to support the rioters, call them 'the people.' But the people are those millions of men and women who stood aside and looked upon (the rioters) with disdain and hatred," Khamenei said.

"Anyone, regardless of his position and title, will be hated by the people if he tries to direct the society toward insecurity," he said.

Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former president and cleric, called for the release of imprisoned protesters.

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