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Iran: "Unity Session" at Parliament Highlights Deep Divisions


Photos by Hamid Forootan,  ISNA - Iran's Parliament (Majlis) held the 2nd annual Unity Session on Tuesday. But based on the photos of the gathering, and based on the remarks of the Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani, this session actually highlighted the deep divisions in the political establishment and the society at large that have surfaced since the June presidential elections.

Many seats were left empty at what was supposed to be a "unity session." Also, archenemies Hashemi Rafsanjani, the powerful head of the Expediency Council, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose presidency is considered as illegitimate by the opposition, failed to attend the gathering, even though they had been invited to address the session. Speaker Larijani, whom some believe is siding with Rafsanjani,  had this to say in this regard: "Mr. Ahmadinejad and Mr. Rafsanjani did not arrive. I pray to God for their health and safety, and I hope God will resolve all issues."

Following is the report of the event by Tehran Times. Full speech of Ali Larijani is available in Persian on ISNA's web site..

Majlis holds unity session
Source: Tehran Times Political Desk

TEHRAN - The Iranian parliament held a session to strengthen unity among officials of the Islamic Republic on Tuesday.

The session was attended by senior officials, but even though they were invited to address the session, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani did not attend.

Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani mentioned the fact that Ahmadinejad and Rafsanjani did not attend and expressed hope that all issues would be resolved as soon as possible.

Ali Larijani

Mohammad Hashemi, the director of Rafsanjani's office, said here on Tuesday that Rafsanjani received the parliament's invitation on Monday, but since he already had another appointment, he was not able to attend the session at the Majlis.

It was the second year the Majlis held such a meeting on December 1 to mark the martyrdom anniversary of prominent cleric and MP Hassan Modarres, who was killed in prison by the regime of Reza Pahlavi in 1937.

During the meeting, Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani said the judicial system is not properly funded and urged the administration and the Majlis to make efforts to resolve its financial problems.

Larijani said that recruiting experienced judges and experts from seminaries and universities requires additional funding, but added that the information technology and communications department of the Judiciary is severely underfunded.

Related Article: Top Leaders Fail to Attend Meeting in Iran's Parliament
By NAZILA FATHI, New York Times
In a sign of the increasing divide among Iranian leaders, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani did not attend a meeting aimed at creating political "unity" on Tuesday, news agencies reported.  The meeting, which was held in Parliament, was delayed by 40 minutes because Mr. Ahmadinejad did not notify the legislature that he would not attend until the last minute. Mr. Rafsanjani's office cited a busy schedule for his absence. Only 30 of the 199 invited guests participated, according to the Web site Parlemannews.

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