No concessions to West: Khamanei

No concessions to West: Khamanei

No concessions to West: Khamanei

Khamanei gives speech on the anniversary of the death of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. AFP photo

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei urged presidential candidates yesterday not to make concessions to appease the West, an implied rebuke to several of the candidates running in June 14 elections who said that they would focus on improving the Islamic Republic’s relations with other countries.

“Some, following this incorrect analysis that that we should make concession to the enemies to reduce their anger, have put their interests before the interests of the Iranian nation. This is wrong,” said Khamanei during a televised speech marking the anniversary of the June 3, 1989 death of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic Republic. He said candidates must promise to put Iran’s interests before foreign interests.

Ali Akbar Velayati , a Khamanei foreign advisor now running for president, said last week that Iran needs “reconciliation with the world” to solve problems including high unemployment and inflation.

Another candidate, centrist Hasan Rowhani, has also signaled that he would lessen rifts between Iran and the West over its nuclear program that the West fears has a military dimension, a charge Iran denies. Khamanei’s remarks came as Iran readies for elections on June 14 to replace President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, during whose tenure the country has struggled to cope with severe international economic sanctions, in particular on the vital oil income.

Economy main problem

Khamanei said that the “anger of enemies” stems from the Islamic Republic’s very existence. He said the economy is Iran’s main problem, but suggested economic problems could be improved by reducing consumption and management. “If our nation can be powerful and reduce its consumption, if the next president can manage the economy, the enemy will be defenseless in its confrontation with the Iranian nation.”

Eight presidential candidates, most of them conservatives close to Khamenei, have been approved by the Guardian Council, a hard-line electoral oversight body, to run in the election. Almost all the candidates attended the ceremony at the shrine of the Islamic revolution’s late founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who died in 1989.