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Rafsanjani blames 'ruthless' smear campaign on his defeat

Tehran, June 25, IRNA-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani mounted a blistering attack Saturday after his surprise presidential defeat which he blamed on a 'ruthless' smear campaign and an organized interference in the polls.

In a letter addressed to the Iranians, the veteran politician hit out at 'those who chose to weaken a contender through undermining the Revolution since they know well that he defends the Islamic Revolution under any circumstances'.

"But I do not intend to take my complaint to the jurors who have shown they either do not want or cannot do anything and I will only complain before the divine court of justice," Rafsanjani said.

He also lashed out at 'those who ruthlessly destroyed my image and that of my relatives in an unprecedented manner through spending tens of billions of the people's money'.

"And those who profusely availed themselves of any means of the system to interfere in the election process in an organized and illegal manner.

"I have no doubt the punishment of such an injustice to the country as well as the people and myself will not be anything less than despair in this world and the hereafter," Rafsanjani said.

With congratulatory expressions notably missing in the letter, the former president however hoped the election winner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would 'cope with his awesome responsibility and deliver on his promises'.

But several officials begged to differ, including Intelligence Minister Ali Younessi who described the election as 'calmer, healthier and more secure' than any polls held ever before.

"Fortunately, we have not had any problem across the country regarding the election," he said, also lauding the media performance which he described as 'good'.

Ahmadinejad swept over Rafsanjani in the Friday presidential run-off with a stunning 17,046,441 votes against 9,841,346 votes garnered by his rival.

Messages of congratulation poured in, including from Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei.

"I congratulate the elected president Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for taking on this critical responsibility," the leader said.

But he equally went on to 'sincerely thank all candidates, especially Hojatoleslam Hashemi Rafsanjani, who is among the assets of the revolution and a prominent figure, and I hope my dear brother would always like to be present on the important scenes'.

President Mohammad Khatami, in his congratulatory message, said the president-elect is expected to respect democracy which he described as 'the great achievement of the Islamic Revolution'.

"The next president should undertake the heavy responsibility of being attentive to the demands of the people and safeguard the overriding achievement of the Islamic Revolution which is religious democracy," President Khatami said.

He said that the political party which has won the election should not hesitate to abide by the religious democracy and respect it as the historical goal of the Iranian nation.

"Regardless of outcome of the election, the next president should know that people have elected him for certain demands to be fulfilled," Khatami said, citing democracy above all.

Further congratulatory messages came from Judiciary Chief Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi as well as Parliament Speaker Gholamali Haddad-Adel, ith the latter voicing the legislature's outright readiness to assist the future government.

In his first statements after the win, Ahmadinejad pledged to 'build up an exemplary, developed and powerful Islamic society'.

"I am highly proud because I received people's kindness and trust," the 49-year-old president-elect said.

"Today, all competition should turn into friendship. We are part of a big family that should go hand in hand to build our proud Iran," he added.

He also vowed to instill better discipline and transparency in the oil ministry, which constitutes the backbone of Iran's hard currency earnings from the second largest sale of crude oil in the OPEC.

"The dominant atmosphere in our oil industry, production, export and trade is a bit ambiguous and it should be transparent. This transparency will definitely result in an economisation of resources," Ahmadinejad said.

... Payvand News - 6/26/05 ... --

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