Sunday, March 19, 2006

Ceasefire for Experts Assembly Meeting

Hamid Ahadi, Rooz Online:
Reports from Tehran indicate that on the eve of the meeting of the Majles Khobregan-e Rahbari (Experts Assembly for Leadership) and with the heightening of criticism over the government’s policies and the elimination of experienced hands, a meeting was held last week with the most senior leaders of Iran with the aim of defusing the tensions between the two main groups who have been battling each other over the last few months. The outcome of the meeting became apparent in the Khobregan session that many expected would erupt because of the presence of the current and former chairmen of the Supreme National Security Council, Hassan Rohani and Ali Larijani, respectively. Each one represents a different political faction in each and since the coming into power of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president, and the following replacement of Rohani with Larijani, the country’s foreign policy, including the sensitive nuclear issue have completely turned around. Soon after coming to power, the new officials launched a campaign to reject and even denounce their predecessors and their policies, at times even calling some of them treacherous and unpatriotic. READ MORE

These differences between the hardliners and others have become so blatant that the president of the Khobregan, ayatollah Meshkini, was temporarily released from hospital to attend the meeting and ensure that the waring factions stayed calm. Among the issues that were discussed in the preliminary preparatory meeting of the Khobregan were the wide propaganda of pro-government media accusing former government officials of corruption and generally rebuffing everything they had accomplished. At the meeting, clerics argued that such harsh criticism was at this time destructive and unnecessary, aiding the enemies of the regime. So pro-government newspapers were specifically asked end their aggressive policies regarding former government officials.

When the official session of the Khobregan opened last week in the short presence of Meshkini, no controntation took place during the talks and opening remarks. The speech of Larijani and the interview of Rohani were each non-accusatory, and the latter even approved the policies of the current chairman.

At the second session of the meeting, the current chairman of the State Expediency Council Hashemi Rafsanjani who was the acting president of the gathering in the absence of Meshkini due to his health, said, “The American have found varying excuses to isolate us and have therefore launched a massive propaganda campaign against us.”