(AFP) – Mar 7, 2008
TEHRAN (AFP) — A top Iranian cleric said on Friday that a new set of UN sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme was aimed at undermining next week's legislative elections.
"They adopted a hasty resolution in order to influence the elections, so that people would not go and vote," Hojatoleslam Ahmad Khatami said in a sermon at Friday prayers in Tehran broadcast by state radio.
"But with the help of God, Iranians will surprise them, and both the United States and the Security Council will be blinded" by the turnout, said Khatami.
The Security Council on Monday imposed its third set of sanctions against Iran in the space of 15 months to punish Tehran's repeated refusal to suspend the process of uranium enrichment.
Resolution 1803 gives Iran three months to comply with demands by the United Nations and its nuclear watchdog IAEA to suspend uranium enrichment, a process that can be used to make both nuclear fuel and atomic weapons.
Iran insists its nuclear programme is solely aimed at generating energy.
Iranian conservative leaders have charged that the West, led by the United States, adopted the resolution ahead of the March 14 vote to discourage people from casting their ballots and thus weakening Tehran Islamic regime.
Iranian political factions started campaigning on Thursday for an election expected to see conservatives cement their grip on parliament and reformists sidelined.
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