Rafsanjani Stresses His Policies of the Last 18 Months
Rafsanjani during his July 2009 historical Friday prayers sermon
As the March 8 and 9, 2011 gathering of Iran's Assembly of Experts on
Leadership, which at least on paper is responsible for monitoring the
performance of the supreme leader of the country, approaches, verbal attacks by
individuals from the ruling circles of power on the head of the Assembly Hashemi
Rafsanjani once again are picking up momentum. Some have even talked about
changing the current chairman, i.e., Rafsanjani. Speaking to a group of students
from the Islamic association of Gilan University, Rafsanjani talked about the
current issues facing the country and once again stressed on his earlier
positions on these.
"I declared my detailed positions regarding the issues facing the country at my last Friday prayer sermon in Tehran, and now too I believe in them," the veteran and influential politician said.
But he was also cautious in his talk as he said he believed differences were generally to the detriment of the country and stressed that he tried to pursue his own positions without creating political hype and drama.
On July 17, 2009 as widespread demonstrations and protests against the tenth presidential election in Iran were in full swing, Hashemi Rafsanjani delivered a public talk at the popular Tehran University Friday prayers in the presence of hundreds of thousands of protestors, including the leaders of the Green Movement, including Mir-Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karoubi and Mohammad Khatami. In his sermon, Rafsanjani said that the Islamic republic was not a facade as he criticized the powerful Guardians Council that vets presidential candidates and supervises the elections for its hasty approval of the elections. He also called for respect for the constitution and respect for the laws of the country, that he said would take the country out of its crisis, remove the doubts created in people's minds regarding the elections, release of political prisoners, and satisfying the public and sympathizing with the injured.
This talk resulted in sharp attacks on Rafsanjani by personalities affiliated to the ruling circles and accused him of "siding with the seditionists" and trying to remove the supreme leader. And although it was never officially announced anywhere, but after this speech, Rafsanjani was removed as the Friday Prayer leader and Kazem Sedighi replaced him. He has not delivered another Friday prayer at Tehran University and has not appeared in other public gatherings.
In response to these attacks, Rafsanjani on December 16, 2009 told a group of clerics and prayer leaders, "If some people really believe that they can resolve issues through intimidation and atmospherics, they are wrong. Even if they superficially resolve something this way, in a short time the issue will return on a larger scale."
Rafsanjani's commitment to pursue his view points is not new. Last year on July 17 he told a group of student activists in the city of Mashhad that, "I clearly declared my positions during the Friday sermon and also suggested my recommendations for the solution."
Rafsanjani has on a number of occasions said that people should be kept happy and that their demands had to be addressed. Speaking to a group of student activists from Gilan University, he said that the most important element in protecting the Islamic revolution is the satisfaction of people. "People are the true owners of the revolution and if we walk with them, domestic and outside enemies shall not be able to hurt the Islamic republic."
In that same talk, Rafsanjani, who is the chairman of the Assembly of Experts on Leadership also said that the Islamic revolution succeeded because of the efforts of different social groups.
This emphasis on the role of people follows some of the similar remarks that the founder of the Islamic regime, ayatollah Khomeini had made and which Rafsanjani had repeated on July 17. "If people stay with us, then we will have everything. Otherwise government is impossible," he said.
In his talk two days ago, Rafsanjani gave credit to the leader of the Islamic state ayatollah Khamenei and said that he was aware of what was going on in the country, including the criticism over current issues.
While Rafsanjani declares that ayatollah Khamenei is aware of what is going in the country, the supreme leader has on several occasions expressly criticized those people who have been protesting against the 2009 presidential elections, which includes Rafsanjani. "Stop this. The elections are over. They could not find faults with the elections and prove anything. They were given the opportunity to show and support what they claimed, but they could not," Khamenei publicly declared in his criticism of the protestors and their leaders.
In another talk that Khamenei gave to the members of the Assembly of Experts on Leadership, which includes Rafsanjani, the leader complained that the elite too had helped the sedition. "Everybody, but especially the privileged, should be vigilant so that their actions or remarks do not compliment the designs and goals of the opponents of the regime," he had said.
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