Khamenei Warns Iran’s Opposition Leaders

Issuing what may well turn out to be the final warning to the country’s warring opposition, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Monday asked the country’s politicians to exercise caution while adopting a stand on the country’s disputed presidential election and the subsequent turmoil.

He told politicians to refrain from disturbing the country’s security, the warning comes soon after a top opposition leader demanded a referendum on the government.

Describing attempts to threaten Iran’s security as “the biggest vice,” Khamenei added, “anybody who drives the society toward insecurity and disorder is a hated person in the view of the Iranian nation, whoever he is.”

Though the leader refrained from mentioning names, correspondents in unison opined that the comments were directed at Mir Hossein Mousavi, the pro-reform candidate who claims to have won the election, and former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani – also a powerful Shiite cleric who recently posed a challenge to Khamenei by criticizing his decision to validate President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad’s re-election.

Rafsanjani’s support for the pro-reform faction at a prayer sermon on Friday provided a shot in the arm to Mousavi who had cast serious aspersions over Ahmadinejad’s electoral victory and questioned the legitimacy of the next government he is to form.

Scores of Mousavi supporters took to the streets in protest of the election braving suppression by security forces and demands by hard-line clerics urging the demonstrators to obey the supreme leader.

With Rafsanani’s sermon providing crucial stimulus, another former President Mohammad Khatami on Sunday called for a referendum over the legitimacy of Ahmadinejad’s government and the need for a neutral body to oversee the vote.

According to provisions in the Iranian law, a referendum could only be ordered by Khamenei.

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