'Iranians have lost faith in political leaders after polls'

'Iranians have lost faith in political leaders after polls'


The opposition charges that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won the June 12 election through mass fraud.

"Durability of order and continuation of the country's progress hinge on restoring public trust," Khatami, a popular reformist, said, according to the sites.

"From the start, we said there is a legal way to regain that trust. I openly say now that the solution to get out of the current crisis is holding a referendum."

Khatami, according to the Web sites, also accused hard-liners of undermining democracy and challenging the foundations of the Islamic republic when they chose to stand by the election results.

"We need to ask the people whether they are satisfied with the current situation? If a majority of the people are happy with this situation, we will submit (to their vote)," he said, referring to the referendum.

It is too early to say whether Khatami's call for a referendum would be adopted by authorities, but it constitutes the latest challenge to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader who has the last word on state matters. Khamenei has declared the results of the elections valid.

Under Iran's constitution, a referendum has to be ordered by Khamenei himself.

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