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Iran’s Religious Leader Warns Voters Not To Open Up To The West

May 19, 2009

In a sign that there is growing support among Iranians for a less oppositional stance to Western Democracies, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s most powerful religious leader, warned voters not to elect a President who will take a conciliatory stance with the west. The comments are seen as support for the foreign policy of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The story is in the LA Times:

Over the weekend, former parliamentary speaker and now moderate presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi blasted Ahmadinejad for questioning the Holocaust, arguing that the president’s controversial rhetoric rallied countries to the cause of Israel and alienated potential allies.

Other candidates have begun to outline foreign policy programs starkly different from Ahmadinejad’s approaches. Mohsen Rezai, a former commander of the Revolutionary Guard and a conservative challenger, argued this weekend for a more conciliatory relationship with the United States.

“My government will engage in a constructive and effective interaction with the U.S. administration should I win the presidential elections,” Rezai said in an interview with an Iranian news agency during a campaign stop in the southern city of Bandar Abbas. “In foreign policy, I believe in convergence between countries.”

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