Khamenei: 'Zionists' are watching our elections

Iran’s Supreme Leader calls for massive turnout in presidential election in order to bolster the regime against its "enemies".

Elad Benari ,

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on Wednesday called for a massive turnout in Friday’s presidential election in order to bolster the regime against its "enemies", AFP reported.

"American, European officials and those of the Zionist regime are watching our elections to see the level of participation," claimed Khamenei in quotes carried on his Telegram messenger account.

"The Iranian nation has enemies. Faced with the enemy, the people should show its determination and calm," he added.

Khamenei is notorious for his attempts to rile up the Iranian people against the Islamic Republic’s “enemies”.

Khamenei has referred to Israel as a “cancer” and in the past threatened to "annihilate" the cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa.

He has also repeatedly threatened the U.S., which he calls the “Great Satan”.

The two main candidates in Friday’s presidential election are incumbent President Hassan Rouhani and 56-year-old cleric Ebrahim Raisi.

On Wednesday, Rouhani defended his international outreach, which included a nuclear deal with world powers, telling his hardline opponents they were not equipped to continue his diplomatic efforts.

"You say you want to negotiate with the world, but you don't know how to speak the global language. You don't even know how to speak the language of your own people," he said at a rally in the northern town of Ardebil, according to AFP.

Raisi has vowed to stick by the nuclear deal, but said the government had made too many concessions to the West and failed to "cash the cheque" offered by the accord.

"A diplomacy of supplication will not solve our problems. We need a diplomacy of strength," he told supporters in Tehran, according to ISNA news agency.

Rouhani has come under fire by his opponents over his failure to revive Iran's stagnant economy despite a nuclear deal with world powers that ended many sanctions imposed on the country.

Iran and the West present Rouhani as a moderate, and yet he has in the past called Israel “illegitimate” and lamented that the crisis in Syria has made it difficult for Iran to focus on harming Israel.

Under his presidency, Iran has set new records in the number of executions, many for political or religious "crimes". Rouhani has also done little in the way of freeing reformist political leaders who were jailed after protesting the 2009 election.