Khamenei asks Ahmadinejad to listen to criticism | The Daily Star
11:00 PM, September 08, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:00 PM, September 08, 2009

Khamenei asks Ahmadinejad to listen to criticism

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to listen to "benevolent criticism" as the hardliner began another term in office amid opposition claims his re-election was fraudulent.
"There is internal criticism backed by foreign media with the aim of sabotage but there is also benevolent criticism which may not come from supporters of the government but they contain good comments," Khamenei said in a meeting with Ahmadinejad and his cabinet, state television reported.
He called on the government to have its "ears open to criticism."
Also on Monday a leading Iranian conservative clerical group told Ahmadinejad to avoid "provocative" comments, in a first such message to the hardliner whose disputed re-election has bitterly divided the political elite.
"We ask the president and the government to seriously try to solve people's problems and the country's economic and social issues and avoid talking about unnecessary and provocative issues," the Society of Militant Clergy said in a statement.
"The comments made and the disrespect committed in the debates, speeches and rallies before and after the election caused divergence," said the statement carried on their official website.
The group also rebuked the opposition, which alleges the election was massively rigged, for pursuing its demands "outside law" and sparking street protests. But it called for "consoling" those harmed in post-vote unrest.
In June, Khamenei had strongly backed Ahmadinejad and denounced the opposition when the president's re-election sparked massive week-long protests.
Last week some of Ahmadinejad's nominees as ministers faced tough criticism in the conservative-dominated parliament before the majority of his cabinet was approved by the house.
Some prominent conservative MPs pronounced several members of his team inexperienced and incompetent, but 18 of his 21 proposed ministers passed the vetting, reportedly after intervention by Khamenei.
Ahmadinejad began his second term by reaffirming vows of social justice but his reformist and conservative critics accuse the president of having stoked inflation and wasted Iran's oil riches.
At least 30 people -- and by opposition accounts 72 -- were killed in the protests which have plunged Iran into its worst crisis in three decades.
The Society of Militant Clergy groups a large number of conservative clerics and its members include former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and former nuclear negotiator Hassan Rowhani.
Ahmadinejad attacked Rafsanjani and accused his sons of corruption during a televised debate before the election with his main opponent and opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, who has called for continued protest against election "fraud."
Ahmadinejad has called for the prosecution of opposition leaders over the unrest

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