Khamenei offers implicit support to Ahmadinejad
In apparent reference to incumbent president, Iran's supreme leader says nation should elect 'those who live in a simple and modest way'
Dudi Cohen and AFP
Iran's spiritual supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on Tuesday offered his implicit support to incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for the June presidential election.
"We should elect those who have popular support and who live in a simple and modest way... are pained by the pain of the people," Khamenei said in a speech in Sanandaj in the western province of Kordestan in an apparent reference to hardline Ahmadinejad who is known for his modest style of living.
"I think these are important features," Khamenei told a large gathering.
Ahmadinejad has sought a second term as president of Iran for which polling is scheduled on June 12.
In August last year, Khamenei, in a speech to the government of Ahmadinejad, said that it must make "plans for the next five years".
The supreme leader continued to say that the candidates "should be close to the people and distance themselves from corruption. They should not be aristocrats, so as not to drag the nation in this direction."
In his speech Khamenei also defended Ahmadinejad's economic policy, which critics said has increased inflation and failed to reduce unemployment.
Several political analysts in Iran have claimed that in light of the global economic crisis the experienced Mir Hussein Mousavi would make a better president than Ahmadinejad.
Furthermore, Mousavi has vowed to change Iran's extremist image and has not ruled out launching negotiations with US President Barack Obama.