An audio file reportedly of Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani’s voice has surfaced, in which he says that the people of Syria have been “attacked by chemical weapons by their own government.”
Rafsanjani’s office at the Expediency Council had previously denied comments attributed to him by the granddaughter of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in reference to the use of chemical weapons by “a government.” His website on Saturday asked that statements be taken from “official” channels.
On Sunday, the Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA), quoted Rafsanjani as saying, “The people have been attacked with chemical weapons by their own government and now they must wait for an attack by foreigners,” but hours later, ILNA removed the phrase “by their own government.”
The full transcript and the audio was apparently first shared on Blogsnewsh.com. The transcript is below.
Our problems are real. We are blockaded. We are sanctioned. We are boycotted. And we cannot use our resources. We cannot sell our oil. If we sell it, we cannot get the money in return. If we buy gasoline, we have to buy it at an extra cost and to transfer, we have to pay a lot of fees. And many other problems.
Lately we are witnessing a big danger. You all see the news. Today, America and the West and some Arab countries have basically announced war against Syria. And at any moment, ears should be ready to hear missiles and bombs, and God have mercy on the people of Syria.
In these two years, the people of Syria have seen much damage, more than 100,000 have been killed, more than 8 million have been displaced, the prisons are full of people, the prisons do not have room so that they take some of the stadiums and fill them.
From one side, the people have been attacked with chemical weapons by their own government, and on the other side, they must wait for American bombs.
Saeed Aganji, who says he has spoken in person in the past with Rafsanjani, believes the audio is not authentic due to the “tone and words” used. Instead, he believes it has more to do with a campaign by hard-liners to undermine Rafsanjani because they fear he is returning to power with the election of President Hassan Rouhani.
The audio file appears to change levels on two separate occasions, and at one point, another conversation can be heard in the the background. Rafsanjani has an extremely distinct voice that is often the target of imitation in Iran. Neither his personal website nor the website for the Expediency Council, which he chairs, has issued a statement in regard to the audio.
Video of Rafsanjani’s comments on Syria was also published today by the same hard-line website that published the audio earlier. The video contains the same comments as the audio, which was transcribed above. The video of the speech by Rafsanjani was recorded from a distance such that it is difficult to determine whether the video matches the audio.