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Photos: Ahmadinejad at Gathering of Student Supporters in Tehran

Photos by ISNA

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has just kicked off his reelection bid, campaigned at a gathering of his university student supporters in Tehran on Friday.

In stump speech, Ahmadinejad defends policies

Press TV - President Ahmadinejad vows to continue his anti-West policies if re-elected.
The incumbent Iranian president accuses his challengers of wanting a policy of detente with the US and its allies at a time when they have no friendly ties with his administration.

"The previous government which followed a detente policy de facto eradicated the goals of the nation and intended to accept a status which others had planned to impose on us," President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in his first official campaign speech in a sports hall in Tehran on Friday.

Reformist Mehdi Karroubi, Mir-Hossein Moussavi who says he is not running on a platform, and Principlist Mohsen Rezaei, the challengers of the president in the June 12 elections, have all outlined plans to try a less confrontational approach toward the West.

The hopefuls have criticized Ahmadinejad's foreign policy as well as his management of the country's economy.

Dismissing the criticism, the president, however, recalled that during the administration of Reformist Mohammad Khatami, Iran was targeted by the West.

"(During the Khatami administration), we were charged with terrorism, human rights violations and the country was even called as part of the axis of evil," Ahmadinejad told the sports hall packed with thousands of supporters.

"Fortunately the people returned to their revolutionary goals and chose the slogan of 'We Can' which eventually led to a change in the country's politics," he said referring to 2005 when he became president.

President Ahmadinejad once again stressed that he would not make any compromise on pursuing "civil nuclear technology".

The presidential campaigns are expected to be dominated by topics such as the economy, nuclear technology and foreign policy.

The June 12 elections will be the 10th presidential elections since the creation of the Islamic Republic.

... Payvand News - 05/23/09 ... --

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