‘‘When the supreme leader looks at these developments, it would be understandable for him to be concerned,’’ Javedanfar said.
In a rare common message, Friday prayer leaders around Iran described the phrase ‘‘free elections’’ as a new buzzword to create ‘‘sedition’’ in the upcoming vote. Hardliners call opposition leaders ‘‘seditionists.’’
‘‘Those promoting the term of ‘free elections’ are politically defeated ones. Others who raise this term are monarchists, the U.S. and Israel ... shame on you. Why do you repeat the words of the enemy?’’ said Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, addressing Friday prayers at Tehran University. Jannati heads the Guardian Council, which vets election candidates.
In the seminary city of Qom, prayer leader Mohammadi Saeedi called the term ‘‘free elections’’ an effort ‘‘to create riots in the upcoming elections.’’
‘‘We steadfastly declare that people, having put the 2009 sedition behind, won’t allow the enemy and seditionists to create riots in the elections,’’ he said.
Mohammad Shahcheraghi, leading prayers in Semnan, about 150 kilometers (90 miles) east of Tehran, urged authorities to stamp out the ‘‘second sedition.’’
‘‘From today, anyone ... who promotes the term free elections should be considered an opponent of the position of the supreme leader and has served the ominous aims of the enemy,’’ he said.
Tehran-based political analyst Davoud Hermidas Bavand interpreted the attacks as an attempt to keep Rafsanjani and others from trying to build a new pro-reform movement around the vote.
‘‘The slogan of ‘free elections’ casts doubt on the authenticity of previous elections,’’ he said. ‘‘That makes the establishment unhappy and authorities take it as an indication that reformists are seeking to provoke tensions ahead of the vote.’’
Murphy reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.