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Iran Leader Accuses West Of 'Absurd' Statements

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

TEHRAN (Reuters) -- Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has denounced what he called "absurd" and "interfering" statements by Western officials following Iran's disputed presidential election, state media reported.

Iran has accused Western powers -- Britain and the United States in particular -- and media of fomenting street protests and violence that rocked the Islamic Republic after its June 12 election. Western officials reject the accusations.

"If the (Iranian) nation and officials are unanimous and united, then the temptations of international ill-wishers and interfering and cruel politicians would no longer have an
impact," state radio quoted Khamenei as saying on June 28.

"By voicing absurd opinions on Iran, they speak in a way as if all their problems have been resolved and it is only Iran's problems that remain," he said.

Khamenei, who has endorsed the re-election of hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the vote, was speaking at a meeting with judiciary officials.

Western officials were "oblivious that wherever they step from a political perspective that place becomes an untouchable one from the point of view of the Iranian nation," Khamenei said.

Ahmadinejad warned on June 27 that he would take a tougher approach in his second four-year term of office to make the West regret meddling in Tehran's affairs.

The Iranian president was speaking a day after U.S. President Barack Obama praised the bravery of Iranians who protested against the election in the face of what he called "outrageous" violence.

Ahmadinejad's main challenger in the election, moderate former Prime Minister Mirhossein Mousavi, says the vote was rigged and has called for it to be annulled.