Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Rafsanjani’s Speech Disrupted

Hamid Ahadi, Rooz Online:
Every year since the Islamic revolution of 1979 Iran has been celebrating 14 Khordad, a day that is said to have launched the Islamic revolution in 1962 when ayatollah Khomeini protested regime policies and was arrested and subsequently exiled. This year as former president and current chairman of the powerful State Expediency council (which oversees the workings of the three branches of government) gave a public speech in Qom, some attendees shouted “Death to Velayat-e Faghih slogans, meaning death to the supreme religious leader. The incident took place right in the beginning of the televised speech and disrupted the meeting, leading to violence among the participants. After one person was carried out of the place by a security guard, a supporter of ultra-conservative cleric ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi got up and openly made charges against Rafsanjani. He was surrounded by others who repeated the slogans that included accusations of Rafsanjani being against Velayat-e Faghih, being counter revolutionary and being an appeaser.

The incident is important because it reflects the growing differences within the ruling circles of the Iranian regime. READ MORE

The official media completely ignored the incident while covering the speech that Rafsanjani gave. Fars news agency did report that a man had disrupted the meeting, which led Rafsanjani to cut short his speech and abruptly leave the meeting. Keyhan newspaper attributed the incident to “possible extremist and suspicious elements.” Etemad Melli newspaper wrote that after former president Khatami, now Rafsanjani was attached at Khomeini’s tomb. It should be noted that Rafsanjani along with former Majlis (Iran's Parliament) chief Mehdi Karoubi and former president Khatami now lead the internal opposition to the hardliners in power.

A close associate of Rafsanjani said that the chairman had cancelled all his public events and doubted whether the group that intended to hold rallied in Rafsanjani’s support would be allowed to do so by the hardline government.