The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic wants extremists to be dealt with firmly, says Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the head of Iran’s the Expediency Council. He made the comments to some 60 members of the Assembly of Experts who visited him Tuesday night after he stepped down from the chairmanship of the Assembly, ISNA reports.
Hashemi Rafsanjani (L) and Ali Khamenei - Thursday March 10, 2011
“Fortunately the great leader of the Revolution has issued an order calling for the confrontation of extremists who engage in insults and slander outside of the legal framework, and we hope this unseemly and destructive phenomenon will come to a stop in this country,” he said. “Criticism is a very appropriate activity, but slander and demagoguery and defamation, especially in the name defending Islam and morality, is scandalous.”
Ayatollah Hashemi has implicitly supported Iran’s opposition leaders over the past year and a half by calling for the release of political prisoners and more tolerance in dealing with the opposition. He and his family have thus become the targets of repeated attacks by pro-government forces.
Most recently, in a video clip posted on YouTube last week, Faezeh Hashemi, the daughter of Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, is seen leaving a funeral ceremony with her family. The clip shows her being approached and verbally attacked and threatened by several individuals. The attacks have been condemned even by some conservative members of the parliament and the clergy.
Today Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi announced that such behaviour is detrimental to the Islamic system. And earlier, conservative lawmaker Ali Motahari called on the head of the judiciary to take immediate action against those who attacked Faezeh Hashemi.
Yesterday, Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi announced that two people invovled in the assault on Hashemi Rafsanjani’s daughter were identified.
Iranian news agencies quote the Tehran prosecutor said the suspects were identified and legal proceedings were initiated against them after the Hashemi family pressed charges in connection with the attack.
The prosecutor emphasized that verbal assaults will not be tolerated, and perpetrators of such acts will be firmly dealt with by the judiciary.
The sites belong to the Assembly of Experts and the Expediency Council, which Rafsanjani continues to chair.
Fars news agency was the first to report that the sites of these two top government bodies were attacked by hackers to publish the false news. Mohsen Hashemi, the cleric’s eldest son told Fars news agency that his father is alive and completely healthy.
The news of Ayatollah Rafsanjani’s death was also denied by his office and the public relations officer of the Expediency Council.
Mohammad Hashemi, who runs Hashemi Rafsanjani’s office at the Expediency Council, said: “Hashemi Rafsanjani reacted to the news of his own death with laughter.”
The attacks against the moderate cleric, who had cautiously backed the reformists over the past year and half, reveal deepening fissures in the Islamic Republic system. They began to appear ever since the disputes over the controversial re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the summer of 2009.
Several analysts have speculated that Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, is trying to gradually remove Hashemi Rafsanjani from the political arena.
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