Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Iranian Regime Takes Rafsanjani To Task

Yesterday, Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani gave a sermon that got the regime in a tizzy. The full text of that speech is here, in which he slammed China for killing Uighurs (and which those present began chanting Death to China), but which devoted significant time to attacking Supreme Ayatollah Khamenei and President Ahmadinejad for making a mockery of the democratic process such as it exists in Iran.

He said:
As you are aware, according to the constitution, everything in the country is determined by people's vote. People elect the members of the Assembly of Expert and then they elect leader, that is, leader is [indirectly] elected by people's vote. Presidents, MPs, members of the councils are elected by direct votes of people. Other officials are also appointed [indirectly] through people's vote. Everything depends on people. This is the religious system. The title of Islamic Republic is not used as a formality. It includes both the republican and Islamic nature.

The title of Islamic Republic is not just a formality. This is a reality passed on to us on the basis of Koran, as well as the religious sayings of the [Shiite] Imams and prophet. We believe in them. We should have them at the same time. Rest assured if one of those two aspects are damaged we will loose our revolution. If it looses its Islamic aspect, we will go astray. If it looses its republican aspect, it [The Islamic Republic] will not be realized. Based on the reasons that I have offered, without people and their vote there would be no Islamic system...

This was our path. We should reach the destination. We should strengthen it day by day. If the problems after the [presidential] election had not emerged, we would have had taken the best largest step towards realizing the Islamic [aspect of the establishment] at the 30th anniversary of the revolution. I am not going to say that we have not taken the step. I want to explain why this happened.

What I understand is that towards the end of the election campaign we were taken over by doubt. In other words, people started to have doubts and the seeds of doubt were sown, for whatever reason. Whether it was unfavourable publicity or the Voice and Vision's inappropriate actions or other things, seeds of doubt were planted in the minds of the people. We consider doubt as the worst disaster.

Doubt came down on our nation like the plague. Of course, there are two separate currents. There is a group of people who have no doubts, they...and mind their own business. But there is also another group, whose numbers are not few and include a great section of our erudite and knowledgeable people, who say: " We doubt". We should take measures to remove this doubt. This period, after the results of the elections , is a bitter era. I do not believe anyone from any faction wanted this to happen. We have all lost in this event. We have all lost and now ask ourselves: why did it happen. We need unity today, more than ever.

Our country should be united against all the dangers that threaten us. They have now upped their ransom demands and are coming forward to take away our achievements in the fields of hi-tech and particularly nuclear technology. Of course, God will not give them the opportunity to do so, but they are greedy. My brothers and sisters, first of all, you all know me, I have never wanted to abuse this platform in favour of a particular faction and my remarks have always concerned issues beyond factionalism. I am talking in the same manner today. I am not interested in any factions. In my view, we should all think and find a way that will unite us to take our country forward and save ourselves from these dangerous and bad effects, and the emerging grudges. We should disappoint our enemies so that they would not covet our country. What should we do? I have a few suggestions...
Note that while he continues attacking Ahmadinejad and Khamenei for all but stealing the election and sowing the seeds of doubt in the legitimacy of the regime through their heavy handed actions to declare a winner without a full recount, he too supports Iran's long term goals of nuclear technologies and is just as wary of the West and the US as the current regime.

Still, it was the comments about the regime that got Rafsanjani in hot water. One of the official mouthpieces for the government slammed Rafsanjani for questioning the election outcomes. Moreover, at least one member of the Guardian Council, which rubber stamped the election, invokes the name of Allah to support their results:
But a prominent cleric who is a member of the electoral watchdog, the Guardians Council, which upheld the poll result, rebuked Rafsanjani for his focus on popular legitimacy.

"The legitimacy of the government is given by God," the ISNA news agency quoted Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi as saying.

"Acceptance by the people doesn't bring legitimacy to (an Islamic) government. Mr Hashemi Rafsanjani ignored this important Islamic point and talked in both parts of his sermon yesterday as if governments are assigned only by the people."
These comments give lie to the fact that the people have ever had a say in who governs. It was always concentrated in the hands of the Guardian Council.

It suggests that Rafsanjani is part of a conspiracy against the regime. That's not good news for the regime, but it puts Rafsanjani on the same side as the opposition. It means Rafsanjani is the highest ranking cleric to side with the opposition.

As for the chants of Death to Russia and Death to China, those stem from the fact that both of those countries were quick to recognize Ahmadinejad as winner, though it doesn't mean that the US is on the back burner.

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