Iran General NewsKhatami warns 'organised movement' bent on disrupting Iran polls

Khatami warns ‘organised movement’ bent on disrupting Iran polls

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AFP: Iranian President Mohammad Khatami on Thursday expressed concern that there was an “organised movement” attempting to disrupt the country’s keenly-fought presidential election. Khatami did not specify who was behind the attempts to interfere with Friday’s vote, but his comments appeared to refer to allegations of smear campaigns and physical harassment reported by candidates across the board. AFP

TEHRAN – Iranian President Mohammad Khatami on Thursday expressed concern that there was an “organised movement” attempting to disrupt the country’s keenly-fought presidential election.

Khatami did not specify who was behind the attempts to interfere with Friday’s vote, but his comments appeared to refer to allegations of smear campaigns and physical harassment reported by candidates across the board.

“I see with regret and worry from the reports that it seems there is an organised movement to hurt and to harm the healthy and the glorious process of the elections,” he said in a letter addressed to the interior and intelligence ministers, quoted by official media.

The infringements “include disruption of gatherings, beating people up, the distribution of illegal pamphlets, spreading of lies in order to ruin the reputation of candidates regardless of their political inclination,” he said.

While Khatami said he would not complain about accusations over his own government’s work, “I cannot stand still over the destructive trend that will hurt citizens’ rights and the safety of the elections.”

“I ask the two ministries and their affiliates to identify the elements of this organised movement and to confront them..,” said the outgoing president.

He said that he was sure that attempts at disruption as well as a string of bomb attacks that killed up to 10 people at the weekend would not have a negative affect on “people’s judgment and their will to take part in the election.”

Leading reform candidate Mustafa Moin was attacked by protesters after a campaign speech last week, while another top reformer, Behzad Nabavi, had his skull fractured by attackers who used tear-gas, chains and sticks.

The previous week hardline vigilantes assaulted Khatami’s own brother Mohammad Reza, who leads Iran’s main reformist party, during a campaign rally in Hamedan province for Moin.

Meanwhile, presidential election frontrunner Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has denounced the use of dirty tricks against him, saying his opponents appeared to be well-funded but refused to name names.

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