Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on Wednesday addressed high-ranking military officers in Tehran to mark the occasion of "Army Day", dispelling widespread speculation about his health.
In his address, Khamenei urged Iranians to take part in presidential and municipal council elections slated for May 19.
"We must respect an appreciate the polls," he said, "which should be conducted in a safe and transparent atmosphere."
"Our enemies and the mainstream media are trying to ruin the election outcome," he added. "We must not let them succeed in doing so."
Khamenei, 78, underwent surgery in 2014 for prostate cancer.
Last month, Ahmed Khatami, a spokesman for Iran's influential Council of Experts, announced the formation of a committee tasked with selecting possible candidates to succeed Khamenei.
While the president holds executive power under Iran's constitution, ultimate authority remains in the hands of the supreme leader, who is considered the country's highest political and religious authority. -