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Guards Organize Memorial Service for Khomeini: Rafsanjani Absent

By Ardalan Sayami, Rooz Online

Hashemi Rafsanjani

News sources have reported that Hashemi Rafsanjani has not been invited to this year's memorial anniversary service for the founder of the Islamic republic, ayatollah Khomeini. Others not invited include seyed Mohammad Khatami, Mir-Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karubi and Mousavi Khoeiniha, all one time close associates and confidants of the enigmatic cleric who died on June 3, 1989. In the past, Khomeini's memorial service served as a uniting event for the different political factions and views among Iran's ruling elite and they all participated in it. Even last year, a day after Rafsanjani was directly verbally attacked by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during the presidential elections debate, Rafsanjani still attended Khomeini's service. Not this year.

Islamic Revolutionary Pasdaran Guards Take Control

The Arabic television station alArabia reported two days ago that "The Islamic Revolutionary Pasdaran Guards (IRGC) have taken control of this year's memorial events for ayatollah Khomeini and one of its initial steps has been to filter the invitees to the annual memorial service commemorating the passing of Khomeini."

According to this report, "sources" have declared that, "Khomeini's house" has excluded the names of some of the most senior guests and heavy weights of the 1979 Islamic revolution from the invitation list. This includes the head of the powerful Experts Assembly on Leadership Hashemi Rafsanjani, seyed Mohammad Khatami, Mir-Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karoubi, ayatollah Mousavi Khoeiniha and ayatollah Mousavi Bojnurdi. "While invitations have already been sent to many guests, no contact in this regard has been made with Rafsanjani, who also heads the State Expediency Council."

On the pretext of last year's turmoil following the June 12 presidential elections, the IRGC has taken over the management of this year's anniversary events for Khomeini. IRGC commanders have said through interviews that they plan to transport between one to five million people to Tehran to participate in Khomeini's memorial service. Until last year, the publishing house of ayatollah Khomeini's work organized and managed the annual event, and all state agencies had to cooperate with it.

This year, reports indicate that security agencies have advised Rafsanjani not to come to Khomeini's memorial service because some individuals and pro-administration pressure groups intend to chant anti Rafsanjani slogans from the main podium so that the national radio and television can relay that across the country.

As has been the practice in recent past, ayatollah Khamenei is planned to give the keynote speech and lead the congregational Friday prayers. Reports also indicate that all official and religious authorities have been asked to be present at this year's event. Cleric Taghavi is in charge of the special committee organizing the event and he has made an outreach to leading conservative clerics such as Mehdi Kani and Emami Kashani who have been absent from public view for the last few months following the post election national protests in Iran, asking them to attend the memorial service.

New Round of Pressure on Rafsanjani

Pressure on Rafsanjani initially began to rise from the beginning of this Persian year (which begins on March 21). It began when Hossein Marashi, a close relative of Rafsanjani was arrested and taken to Evin prison. Then, on April 16, 2010 Tehran Judiciary issued an arrest warrant for Rafsanjani's son Mehdi Hashemi and submitted to the ministry of intelligence for execution. In May, Rafsanjani gave a speech in a meeting to young reformists and some freed political prisoners Reports indicate that most of his speech was devoted to political prisoners and asked them not to look at their incarceration as a negative event because, according to him, "imprisonment of those who have peaceful intentions is constructive and brings in benefits."

According to these reports, Rafsanjani gave a reason for his view. "When sincere personalities are imprisoned because of making critical comments, it forces many of their supporters, friends, neighbors etc to think about the issue and increases their awareness," he said.

In his talk, Rafsanjani also asked about the condition of the freed prisoners, prison conditions, detention periods and then using religious texts sympathized with them and stressed that victory eventually arrives after every hardship.

These remarks were in fact a message to the ruling circles of Iran that he has not changed his views since his message during last year's Friday prayers but that they were in fact now even stronger. The remarks had a strong impact, particularly on the supporters of the green movement. But the state also changed its course with Rafsanjani. Soon after this event, offices of Azad university board of trustees, i.e. Mehdi Hashemi, were raided by security forces. The office said the attack was violent and illegal but Tehran Judiciary took responsibility for the raid and even announced that it had obtained documents related to some oil companies. Following this event, the offices of Faezeh Rafsanjani, the daughter of Rafsanjani, were also raided and inspected.

It was after this event that Hashemi Rafsanjani's website on May 6 again published the letter that he had written to ayatollah Khamenei. The publication of this very letter last year brought forth a wave of protests from pro-government groups. They even attributed the post-election unrest in Iran to this letter. The republication of the letter too brought about harsh protests by pro-government groups.

Shameful Letter, Secret Signal

One of the harshest responses to the re-posting of Rafsanjani's letter came from Fateme Rajabi, the journalist wife of Gholam Hossein Elham who is the official government spokesperson. A known vocal supporter of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, she recently said, "What Mr. Rafsanjani calls Ahmadinejad's lies have turnout out to be true in the last year as his son, Mehdi Hashemi, has fled to Britain on Mr. Rafsanjani's orders." Regarding the letter, she said that Rafsanjani's "team" showed that it wants to remain active and involved in politics and direct the conspiracy (against the president)."

Also, ayatollah Khazali has said last December/January that he had told Mr. Rafsanjani at an Experts Assembly on Leadership meeting that he and his children should act according to the law, and that he was not above the law. Khazali told an interviewer that he was surprised that Rafsanjani had said in the city of Mashhad that the leader stemmed from the people. Khazali said there were four conspirators: Mousavi, Khatami and Karoubi, who followed their leader Rafsanjani, whom he called the "root" of the problem.

... Payvand News - 06/04/10 ... --

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