Iran's supreme leader delivered an impassioned defense of the Islamic Republic on Friday, insisting a majority of Iranians had faith in the existing establishment and issuing a "religious ultimatum" to protesters to end days of street demonstrations triggered by last week's presidential election.
Addressing a large crowd at Tehran University, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the historic voter turnout of 85 percent legitimized the Islamic system and had been a clear demonstration of the Iranian people's trust in the regime.
He rejected suggestions that fraud or cheating had been involved in President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election, pointing out that the 11-million vote difference between Ahmadinejad and his principal opponent, Mir Hossein Moussavi, was too large to have been manipulated by vote-rigging.
Khamenei then directly addressed the people on the streets, telling them it was time to end their protests and pursue their grievances through the Guardian Council, which has already said it will recount some of the votes. Watch Khamenei dismiss claims of fraud
And he made clear there would not be another election, warning that the consequences of any further violence or public disturbances would be borne by those responsible. Read full article »