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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Iran Shuts Down Newspapers Over Vote-Rigging Allegations

TEHRAN, Iran -- Iran's inner leadership circle struck back Monday at one of its own, rebuking a candidate for president and senior adviser for his charges that the election had been rigged. In a stern warning, the country's supreme leader said he would not "allow anyone to create a crisis" in Iran.

Mehdi Karroubi, an adviser to the supreme leader and a former parliament speaker, pressed his claims against conservatives and the military, the front-runner for president, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, said he supported Karroubi's calls for an investigation.

In a statement carried by the local news media, Rafsanjani, a stalwart of the revolution who will be in a runoff on Friday, said he also believed that the first round of voting had been tampered with.

"During the election, we witnessed certain organized interferences aimed at directing peoples' votes, which is not clear where it would lead if such behavior is institutionalized," he said.

In its crackdown on Monday, the hard-line government shut down two newspapers that had been planning to publish Karroubi's charges of election fraud. Karroubi said the election was rigged by elements of the Iranian military, along with militias, known as Basiji, that are controlled by the hard-liners and the Guardian Council, the cleric-controlled panel that has final say over all government actions. On Monday, he resigned his government posts and vowed to start a new opposition party.

It was clear that critics of the election believed that the government was trying to push through the candidacy of the ultra-conservative appointed mayor of Tehran, Mahmud Ahmadinejad. Ahmadinejad catapulted from near the bottom of the pack of eight candidates to make it into the runoff. He has dismissed the charges of fraud, saying they are the words of a sore loser, and has focused on campaigning for the runoff.