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Rafsanjani calls for a heavy turnout in Iran's elections, blast US for its Iraq policies

Tehran`s Substitute Friday Prayers Leader Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani called on the officials to adopt measures not to allow staunch enemies to intervene in Iran`s internal affairs on the eve of the important parliamentary elections, slated for February 20, IRNA reported from Tehran.

Addressing the worshipers gathered for the weekly congregational prayers at the Tehran University campus, Ayatollah Rafsanjani said the United States and its European allies are after finding a pretext to interfere in Iran`s internal affairs and so officials should be quite vigilant not to allow them to pursue their evil aims.

rafsanjani said the Iranians should keep vigilant too because the foreign countries are keeping a close eye on them adding that the people are expected to massively go to polls.

Rafsanjani who is also chairman of the powerful Expediency Council, an arbitration body which mediates between the parliament and the Guardian Council in case of differences among them, said all Iranians are religiously duty-bound to go to polls.

He went on to say that the current circumstances are critical because the enemy has deployed its forces in the east and west sides of the Iranian territory adding that "a wounded enemy may be dangerous".

He marked the "10-Day Dawn", a period marking the victory of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, and noted the hue and cry that takes place today over the election from abroad had also occurred in the early years of the Revolution but to no avail.

The enemies had been launching poisonous propaganda against the fledgling Islamic system soon after the Revolution but they have invariably failed to materialize their satanic goals, he noted.

Rafsanjani`s remarks on elections came as governors of provinces said the public may boycott the elections a day earlier.

The governors said the large disqualification of the hopefuls, and those who are fully trusted in different provinces, by the representatives of the Guardian Council, has been quite unprecedented in the history of the revolution... and has raised serious concerns regarding the national interests among those who care for the future of the Islamic Revolution and Iran.

Rafsanjani then commented on the situation in Iraq and praised the stances adopted by the great Iraqi Shiite cleric Ayatollah Ali Sistani and said his attitude has put the United States into a plight.

He referred to the will of the Iraqi people to hold elections to take into their hands the fate of their country and said the United States is well aware that it can do nothing in Iraq against the will of the Iraqis.

He commented on the US policies and said the United States has claimed to be in favor of democracy in Iraq but they have made clear that the Iraqis are not allowed to hold the elections in the way they want.

Rafsanjani referred to the prisoners swap between Lebanese ezbollah and the Israeli regime and said the Lebanese Hezbollah has brought Israel to its knees for the second time and that its why it has released 430 Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian prisoners of war, handed over the remains of 59 martyrs to be given only three corpses and an officer.

The prisoner swap between Israel and the Lebanese resistance group, Hezbollah, got underway early Thursday as an Israeli plane carrying 36 Lebanese, Arab prisoner headed for Germany while a German air-force plane carrying Israeli prisoners departed Beirut for Cologne.

At the same time, buses carrying 400 Palestinian prisoners headed to border crossings between Israel and the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

While hailing Hezbollah for forcing Israel to release hundreds of Arab prisoners, Palestinians in general have voiced a degree of ambivalence at the swap deal for not covering a larger number of prisoners.

Rafsanjani said it was clear that Palestinians praised Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah for doing what no other Arab leader has been able to do.

He elsewhere voiced condemnation for the ban on the Islamic headscarves in the state schools in France.

... Payvand News - 1/30/04 ... --

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