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US Greater Middle East plan mischievous: Rafsanjani

Tehran, Sept 4, IRNA - The newly-elected chairman of the Assembly of Experts, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, said Tuesday morning that the US Greater Middle East peace plan is "mischievous."

Referring to the threats posed to Iran, Rafsanjani said, "In such circumstances, we should not let the political and issues overshadow priorities of the Islamic establishment."

He made the remarks in his speech at the opening session of the second meeting in the current year of the Fourth Assembly of Experts.

He called for preserving national unity, saying, "disturbing national unity is a great sin."

"National unity is an issue related to ourselves. We have no problem on major principles. There are only some minor political issues and it is a great sin to disturb national unity," Rafsanjani told the Assembly of Experts before being elected by 41 votes as its new chairman.

Stressing the need for paying due attention to Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's guidelines for keeping "national unity and Islamic solidarity," Rafsanjani said the initiative was put forward by the Supreme Leader "in a proper time."

Noting that Westerners have intended to sow discord among Muslims in the region, Rafsanjani said, "We should be careful not to fall into their traps.

"We should not let ourselves to be provoked and give an excuse for the Western mercenaries," he added.

Stressing the need for "avoiding any incitement," Rafsanjani said, "Public interest of the Muslim world is important."

US attempt to make 'graveyard calmness' in Iraq failed

The US attempt to create a "graveyard calmness" in Iraq has failed due to the demands of the Iraqi people, Rafsanjani said.

Rafsanjani added, "US and other occupiers have not planned to help Iraqi people and serve their interest.

"They (US and other occupiers) are now trapped in Iraq," Rafsanjani said.

Referring to Iran's assistance to restore stability in Afghanistan, Rafsanjani said "Iran helped a popular government come to power" in that country.

"Similarly, in Iraq, Iran intends to help Iraqi people, including the Sunni and Shia Muslims and the Kurdish population, achieve their rights and live together in peace and friendship.

"Tehran has helped hold several elections in Iraq," Rafsanjani recalled arguing, "But the occupiers' greed has created stumbling block for the Iraqi people.

Referring to the failure of the US policies in the region particularly in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon, Rafsanjani said, "The Islamic Republic of Iran is still doing its job with goodwill strongly and no one could hurt us."

Rafsanjani elected chairman of Assembly of Experts

Chairman of the Expediency Council Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was elected Tuesday head of the Assembly of Experts for the body's fourth term.

Rafsanjani, 73, won the assembly's chairmanship by 41 votes out of the total 76, while his rival, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, secured 34.

Rafsanjani is replacing the assembly's former chairman the late Ayatollah Ali Meshkini who passed away on July 30 at the age of 86 due to pulmonic disease.

The voting was held Tuesday morning during the second official gathering of the assembly's 86 members, who were elected through nationwide elections on December 15, 2006. The assembly members were elected for nine years.

The Assembly of Experts is an influential body in charge of appointing the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution and monitoring his performance.

... Payvand News - 9/4/07 ... --

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