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Iran Supreme Leader visits Qom under strict security

Source: Radio Zamaneh

On his arrival in Qom today, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei condemned the past year of protests and dismissed the effect of international sanctions.

A number of websites reported that none of the senior members of the clergy and sources of emulation was present in the gathering.

Iranian media reports that Ayatollah Khamenei was heartily welcomed by the people; however, anti-government websites report that all schools, seminaries and offices in Qom were closed today which would signify that people were encouraged to attend Ayatollah Khamenei's speech.

The reports also indicate that the trip was publicized at great cost and effort and the city of Qom has been shrouded with heavy security measures including closing down of businesses and strict traffic control in the major arteries of the city as well as drop in internet speed and police visits to senior members of the clergy to assure their attendance at the gathering.

Ayatollah Khamenei's trip was delayed for over a week for unspecified reasons.

Ayatollah Khamenei once more referred to the past year of protest against the alleged vote fraud that resulted in the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as sedition carried out by the system's "enemies."

He said: "People's alertness in the sedition of 2009 inoculated the country and the people against our political and social germs."

Ayatollah Khamenei maintained that "Islam without the clergy" and "separation of religion from politics" are all "tactics of the World Arrogance (the USA)" and "whatever is attacked by them must gain our support."

He went on to add that the recent sanctions against Iran have failed to produce any significant pressure on people's lives but urged the government to maintain its unity in all matters.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government has fallen into a number of disputes with the Parliament in the past months forcing the supreme leader to intervene on some occasions.

Ayatollah Khamenei was received by a number of hardline members of the clergy in Qom including Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi, Ahmad Khatami and Mohammad Yazdi.

A number of websites reported that none of the senior members of the clergy and sources of emulation was present in the gathering.

A group of clerics had issued a statement in advance of this visit warning the clergy that welcoming Ayatollah Khamenei in Qom would be a seal of approval on the crimes and violence committed by the government against peaceful protesters in the past year.

... Payvand News - 10/20/10 ... --

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