Page last updated at 20:36 GMT, Wednesday, 10 June 2009 21:36 UK

Iran's Ahmadinejad lambasts opponents


Crowds gather for Iran rally

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has ended his re-election campaign with a TV appearance accusing his opponents of trading in lies and insults.

Mr Ahmadinejad said they had conspired with Israelis to falsify documents and graphs to discredit him.

His rivals boycotted the chance to appear on TV, after apparently not being offered equal airtime.

Earlier a former president and leading cleric urged Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to rein in Mr Ahmadinejad.

Mr Ahmadinejad alleged in a TV debate last week that the cleric, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, and other politicians were corrupt.

Huge crowds have been out on the streets, as the rival candidates held their last election rallies.

Mr Ahmadinejad is thought to be in a tight race with his main rival, reformist Mir Hossein Mousavi. Two other candidates are standing.

'Bottom of history'

The BBC's Jon Leyne in Tehran says the crowds gathering in the capital in support of rival candidates sound more like boisterous football crowds than election campaigners.

Such insults and accusations against the government are a return to Hitler's methods, to repeat lies and accusations ... until everyone believes those lies
President Ahmadinejad

The campaign at first appeared to be relatively dull, our correspondent says, but there has been an amazing surge of enthusiasm since the first of several TV debates.

Speaking to thousands of supporters in Tehran in the last hours of campaigning, President Ahmadinejad accused rivals of lying about the state of the economy and using smear tactics against him.

"Such insults and accusations against the government are a return to Hitler's methods, to repeat lies and accusations ... until everyone believes those lies," he said, quoted by local media.

Iranians would "send them to the bottom of history", he added.

Campaign rally for President Ahmadinejad - photo 10 June
Mr Ahmadinejad drew thousands of people to his final rallies

Later the president appeared on state TV to respond to criticism by use of graphs of his handling of the economy by Mr Mousavi and another candidate, Mohsen Rezai.

He said they had used what he called "zionist entities", meaning Israeli companies, to falsify information and undermine his government.

Our correspondent says this is a charge that's bound to outrage his rivals, who have little chance to respond to these latest charges now that campaigning is ending.

However, their supporters are expected make their views known on the streets. Mr Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, another reformist candidate, were due to address crowds in central Tehran.

'Effective action'

Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani - photo September 2006
Mr Rafsanjani remains powerful 12 years since he gave up the presidency

The last day of campaigning was also coloured by an intervention by Mr Rafsanjani, who was Mr Ahmadinejad's main opponent in the 2005 elections, and was himself president from 1989 to 1997 and currently heads the Expediency Council - Iran's main political arbitration body.

In an open letter to the supreme leader published by several newspapers, he said Mr Ahmadinejad's statements threatened to undermine the Islamic revolution.

He had personally told the president to take back his remarks, which he described as "irresponsible and untruthful", he said. He asked Ayatollah Khamenei to resolve the dispute.

"I ask your eminence, given your position, responsibility and personality, to solve this problem and act in a way you deem right to take effective action in eliminating the mutiny," the former president said, quoted by AFP news agency.

Fourteen high-ranking clerics echoed the complaint.

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