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Iran's Supreme Leader Calls for Politicians to Stop Fomenting Unrest

A group of reformist Iranian religious leaders is calling for a popular referendum to determine the fate of a disputed presidential election.

At the same time, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is warning the country's political elite not to foment unrest that "abets Iran's enemies" while again lashing out at the West for allegedly meddling in Iran's internal affairs.

The Ayatollah used thinly veiled language to address the country's reformist leaders, without naming them, to insist that they be careful about what they say or do.

He says that the country's top echelon must be aware that their words and actions help those [foreign enemies] who are acting against the nation. [For this reason], he adds, we must be vigilant.

Khamenei also pointed an accusatory finger, once again, at the Western press, as he has done repeatedly in recent weeks, saying Western "enemies" of Iran are using "their media to instruct agitators who are provoking chaos, destruction and violence."

In a sharp attack on Iranian leaders last Friday, former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani warned those in power to "abide by the will of the people" and heal the wounds of the recent crisis.

But Ayatollah Khamenei, without referring to Rafsanjani or the reformist camp by name, insisted that it is not permissible to level criticism at the system, and that those who do so "will be hated by the people for causing strife."

He also lauded the Islamic Republic and the people for their achievements over a 30 year history, saying they have prevented Western "enemies from accomplishing their evil goals."

Khamenei said the intelligence agencies of the world are attacking the Islamic republic, which stands in their way, preventing them from achieving their goals.

Embattled President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad was seated on the podium close to the Ayatollah, in an apparent gesture of support, in the wake of attacks and criticism against him, following the disputed June 12 election.

At the same time, former reformist President Mohammed Khatami, in an appeal ignored by Iran's official media, called for a popular referendum to decide what to do about the contested election.