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Iran's top leader urges Guard to avoid politics

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September 17, 2013 06:25 AM EST | AP


TEHRAN, Iran — Iran's top leader is urging the powerful Revolutionary Guards to stay away from politics.

A Tuesday report by state TV quoted Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as saying, "It is not necessary for the Guards to have activities in the political field." But he said during a meeting with Guards commanders that the group should be familiar with politics.

His comments are seen as support for President Hasan Rouhani, who has promised a new diplomatic approach to the West. On Monday Rouhani said the Guards should stay away from Iran's "political currents."

The Guards, who control a wide range of security and economic activities in Iran and who answer directly to Khamenei, have been accused of supporting hard-liners. The Guards deny that they back one faction or another.