By Nazanin Kamdar, Rooz Online
Head of Tehran's Friday Prayer Committee Changed
Hashemi Rafsanjani during his famous Friday prayer sermon on 17 July 2009
Just a day after former president Ali Akbar
Hashemi Rafsanjani declared that he would participate in Tehran's Friday prayer
sermons "when necessary," a website close to the administration, Raja News,
reported that Rafsanjani would not deliver Friday prayer sermons and published
interviews with two hardline administration supporters in the Majlis, Ruhollah
Hosseinian and Hamid Rasaie on the subject.
Meanwhile, according to Parleman News, one day after Hashemi Rafsanjani's announcement about his possible participation in the Friday prayers, the head of Tehran's Friday Prayer Committee was changed. Analysts believe that the change was related to Hashemi's potential participation in Friday prayers "when necessary."
According to an announcement from the Friday Prayer Policy Coordination Council, the Council's conservative chairman, seyyed Reza Taghavi, replaced Masoud Moradi with Yadollah Shirmoradi.
The Friday Prayer Policy Coordination Council releases the names of Friday prayer speakers, including the content of their speeches, two days prior to each Friday prayer. Friday prayer speakers are obliged to speak on topics pre-selected by the Council.
Observers have noted that this rule would not apply to Hashemi Rafsanjani because of his position and record. For that reason, in his famous 17 July 2009 Friday prayer sermon last year, Hashemi Rafsanjani laid out his "proposals to exit the crisis," which did not conform to the Council's predetermined text.
Hashemi Rafsanjani who has not delivered a Friday prayer sermon for the past 9 months, hinted yesterday in a meeting with the editorial team of the Farhang Ashti newspaper that he may deliver another sermon, noting, "The Friday prayer leader's duty is to inform the public about current national and international issues, and I will perform that duty when I feel that it is necessary."
According to the website Kalame, supporters of the administration have so far failed to convince ayatollah Khamenei to dismiss Hashemi Rafsanjani as Tehran's interim Friday prayer leader in large part because Hashemi Rafsanjani was appointed to that post by ayatollah Khomeini. The head of the pro-administration faction in the Majlis, Ruhollah Hosseinian, responded to Hashemi's hints at delivering a Friday prayer sermon by saying, "If I am asked for my opinion, I would say that it is not expedient for Mr. Hashemi to do that."
It must be noted that pro-administration lawmakers and Raja News website speak about the "inexpediency" of Hashemi's delivery of Friday prayer sermons while one of Hashemi's two important positions is heading the "Expediency Council" of the regime.
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