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Iran: Majlis Speaker Larijani Supports Hashemi Rafsanjani

Source: Rooz Online

Following weeks of silence, Hashemi Rafsanjani who heads the Expediency Council and the Experts Assembly on Leadership finally spoke his mind publicly about what he thinks of the state of the country, and just like the Friday prayer sermon on July 17, 2009, he criticized the existing conditions in the country. And this criticism came with support from non other than the Speaker of Majlis, Ali Larijani who called Hashemi "one of the pillars" of the regime and "a part of the history of the revolution."

After tolerating much harsh criticism from pro-administration factions directed at himself and his family members, and the implicit criticism from ayatollah Khamenei over his public posture on the July 17, 2009, Hashemi once again called for the need of the authorities of the regime to respond to the protests, for "opening the sphere of criticism over shortcomings and weaknesses of the regime", and, "the irrefutable role of the public in providing legitimacy to the regime." These remarks in fact echoed what he had said in July.

Iran's ILNA labor news agency which reported Hashemi's remarks made during a gathering of Islamic Societies of Tehran University and the college of Health Sciences, quoted him as saying, "The Islamic regime was successful and victorious when it [rested and] moved on the shoulders of the public. It will be hurt if people are removed from the Islamic regime."

According to the news agency, Rafsanjani said that government, "authorities had to be more patient in accommodating the expression of weaknesses and shortcomings and pay attention to fair criticism."

Mentioning students, Rafsanjani is reported to have said, "The best and most qualified people who can present criticism are students and academicians."

In another important development, the head of Iran's national assembly the Majlis expressed his support fro Rafsanjani and defended his role in the Islamic republic.

In his remarks, Larijani called Rafsanjani "one of the pillars of the regime," and "a part of the history of the revolution", and strongly criticized the insults and humiliation that have been thrown at Rafsanjani.

If stressed that, "If remarks are made about Hashemi's family members, then they have to be made in the right forum."

"Our discussion is about destruction and while I do not claim that Hashemi is perfect, all people who enter politics must be ready to be criticized but my point is that why are people's positive points and traits not mentioned as some pursue destruction," Larijani said.

Ali Larijani

Contradictory Remarks

Larijani's comments and defense of Rafsanjani came a day after Alireza Zakai, a pro-administration representative in the Imam Sadegh University of Tehran, accused Rafsanjani and his children of opposing Ahmadinejad and supportive of his critics. These remarks were immediately refuted by the office of the head of the Expediency Council as "absolutely wrong" and "unfounded".

At the same time, Rafsanjani's invitation to go to the Majlis on Majlis day, when the heads of the three branches of government are expected to participate, was met with contradictory remarks by different Majlis representatives.

Hossein Sobhaninia for example, who is a member of the leadership of the national assembly, announced the invitation extended to Rafsanjani to come this session of the Majlis and deliver a speech, while Mohammad Reza Bahonar, a conservative representative who supports the administration denied that such an invitation had been extended.

Political observers believe that Rafsanjani's return to media politics, whose absence began on the day Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Mir-Hossein Mousavi held their televised live campaign debates and continued through accusations of financial corruption thrown as his children, even calling Mehdi Hashemi (Rafsanjani's eldest son) to be the architect of the velvet revolution in the pro-administration media, the show mock trials held in recent months, and the uproar over Tehran's underground metro which is managed by Mehdi. Observers believe that Rafsanjani's recent public positions, Mehdi Hashemi's letter to Tehran's prosecutor - which was published last week - and the sharp responses of Mohsen Hashemi to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over the Metro, indicate new chapters in the political battle between Hashemi and Ahmadinejad at the highest levels.

... Payvand News - 12/01/09 ... --

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