Iran hardliner says moderates ‘colluded’ with West

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A top Iranian cleric accused moderates of colluding with “foreigners” in the Feb. 27 elections in order to block hard-line appointments to the Assembly of Experts.

Sadeq Larijani said reformists and moderates had worked with “American and English media outlets” during the election.

Former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani casts his ballot in a parliamentary election in Teheran on Feb. 27. /Reuters
Former Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani casts his ballot in Teheran on Feb. 27. /Reuters

“Is this type of coordination with foreigners in order to push out these figures from the Assembly of Experts in the interests of the regime?” Larijani said in a statement.

Reformists and moderates have won all seats in the capital Teheran as millions of Iranians voted on Feb. 27 for members of the assembly, which appoints Iran’s supreme leader, and also in parliamentary elections.

Early results gave reformist President Hassan Rouhnai and former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a moderate conservative, the most votes for the assembly.

Rouhani hailed the election as an endorsement of his efforts to end Iran’s international isolation.

“The competition is over. It’s time to open a new chapter in Iran’s economic development based on domestic abilities and international opportunities,” Rouhnai said, according to the official Irna news agency.

The vote for the Assembly of Experts was seen as highly significant as current supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, 76, who is said to be in ill health.

Khamenei said the turnout, at 60 percent, showed “the brilliant face of religious democracy to the world,” but he also urged “vigilance” against “foreign meddling.”

While reformists and moderates won big in Teheran, a mixed vote outside the capital means neither the reformists or hardliners are likely to have overall control of parliament.