Ruling out political compromise after a harsh crackdown on the streets, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, insisted Wednesday the authorities would not yield to pressure from opponents demanding a new election following allegations of electoral fraud.
“I had insisted and will insist on implementing the law on the election issue,” Ayatollah Khamenei told legislators, according to news reports. “Neither the establishment nor the nation will yield to pressure at any cost.”
His remarks came after a losing candidate in Iran’s disputed presidential election formally withdrew complaints of vote rigging Wednesday, opening a rift among those who had challenged the outcome of the June 12 vote.
Other opponents maintained their defiance, calling for continued protests and the release of detainees. But the Ayatollah’s comments strengthened the impression that, with street demonstrations apparently easing in the face of the crackdown, the authorities had resolved to use all levers of power to choke off protest, including political pressure on candidates.
Mohsen Rezai, a former hard-line commander of the Revolutionary Guards, had been one of three candidates complaining of irregularities, saying he had evidence of 900,000 votes cast for him, while the official count was 680,000, less than two percent of the turnout in the official tally of 40 million. Source....