Rafsanjani, Khatami Asked to ‘Save’ Iran

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Conservative website Baztab Emrooz has published an op-ed by Foad Sadeghi asking Iran’s two previous presidents, Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Seyyed Mohammad Khatami, to help Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei “save” Iran by participating in the upcoming elections.

The article shares that based on the speeches of Ayatollah Khamenei, “the fundamental issue of the elites of the country, in the 40 days remaining until the process of the elections officially starts, is to present solutions to pass through the critical conditions and unprecedented threats” facing Iran.

The article listed eight issues that Iran is facing, with the first one being “the American and Israeli position against Iran’s nuclear program, which has turned into an international issue that has been taken up the Security Council.” Other issues were the “acceptance” of the  “events of the 2009 elections” and addressing “the undeniable, tangible effects of the economic sanctions.”

One point that stood out was perhaps one of the most blunt assessments coming from inside Iranian media, particularly on a conservative site. The article wrote that the “the domestic crisis in Iraq and the civil war in Syria has challenged allies and the key rings of the Shia crescent, and effectively, the Islamic Republic can no longer invest in the Middle East as it did before in order to put opposing pressure on America.” Iran’s investment in Bashar al-Assad’s government in Syria has become increasing unpopular at home, and various outspoken critics and dissidents have begun to take public positions against this support.

The article likened Iran’s current situation to the end of the Iran-Iraq war in 1988 in how Rafsanjani and Khamenei helped Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini end a conflict which had economically and politically drained Iran. “Now we are in a similar situation,” the op-ed wrote, “and the Supreme Leadership of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, with Seyyed Mohammad Khatami next to him, can provide this role and help see the country through these unprecedented foreign and domestic threats.”

In other elections news, Ayatollah Seyyed Ahmad Khatami, member of the Assembly of Experts and Tehran Friday prayer speaker, said that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei never told voters to vote for Ahmadinejad in the 2009 elections. He said that “at no place did the Supreme Leader tell the people to vote for Ahmadinejad.” He added that “those 24 million of us who voted for Ahmadinejad assumed that if we support [him], this group’s positions are closer to the Khamenei.

Before the 2009 elections, Khamenei had praised Ahmadinejad for his work during his first term and it was commonly assumed that through his speeches, Khamenei supported the re-election of Ahmadinejad. In Khamenei’s first public statements after the controversial elections, he said that of the four candidates, “my views are closer to the president.” Khamenei then went to warn that if any more blood is shed as a result of the protests against the election outcomes, it “is the responsibility” of the people calling for protests. The Supreme Leader’s harsh words were an indication that he would not back down from his support of the president.