Iran Leader Asks Ahmadinejad to Acknowledge Critics
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei asked Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to take into account "benevolent criticism" after a leading group of clerics urged the president to limit "provocative remarks."
"Some internal criticism that is backed by foreign media aims to harm, but there is also benevolent criticism which may not come from supporters of the government, and they need to be taken into account," Khamenei, the highest authority in the country, said yesterday in a meeting with Ahmadinejad and his ministers, according to state television, Bloomberg reported.
The Society of Militant Clergy called on Ahmadinejad, who was sworn in last month for a second term after the disputed June election, to focus on "solving people's problems and the country's economic woes and social challenges, and avoid uttering unnecessary and provocative remarks," according to a statement on the group's Web site.
"Comments made and the disrespect committed in the debates, speeches and rallies prior to and following the election caused divisions," they said.
In a televised debate during Ahmadinejad's re-election campaign, he accused former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and his family of corruption. Rafsanjani had indirectly supported the campaign of the leading presidential challenger, Mir Hossein Mousavi.
Ahmadinejad called last month for the punishment of opposition leaders who had challenged his re-election. Defeated candidates Mousavi and Mehdi Karrubi both allege the June 12 election was rigged, a charge the president denies.