Reporting from Beirut — Iran’s supreme leader wrapped up an unprecedented 10-day visit to the Iranian seminary city of Qom on Friday that was widely seen as an attempt to bolster support among those in a clerical establishment either indifferent or hostile to his conservative agenda.
In a series of meetings, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned turbaned leaders of the Shiite Muslim clergy to avoid becoming excessively enamored with unorthodox, reformist and Western ideas and too unsupportive of the hard-line government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has long aroused suspicion among Iran’s clerical old guard.
“The enemy had decided to make the antithesis of the revolution here and to turn Qom into a base for counter-revolutionaries,” Khamenei told supporters in the city Wednesday, amid saturation media coverage. “They tried to influence the thoughts and emotions of the people of Qom. They assumed they could quell the flame of people’s emotions or dampen their feelings.”