Rafsanjani: I Wanted to Negotiate With the US

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In an interview with the International Studies Journal, Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani discussed a variety foreign policy issues regarding Iran’s relationship with the United States and Saudi Arabia, controversial comments he made on Israel and nuclear weapons in 2001 and extremist elements in Iran. Parts of the article have been reprinted by various Reformist publications.

Rafsanjani, who was the speaker of parliament from 1980 to 1989, claims to have written a letter to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini toward the end of his life asking him to address a variety of issues. In the letter, which Rafsanjani claimed to have delivered himself, he warned Khomeini that there are issues “that if you do not cross yourself, after you, crossing them will be very difficult.” Toward the end of Khomeini’s life it is believed that some of his top advisers and family were involved in making key decisions. Rafsanjani, who is now head of the Expediency Council, is considered to have been one of Khomeini’s closest advisers. Continue reading

Hardliners Slam Hamas Over Ties with Qatar, Turkey

Serat News, close to the  hardline Kayhan institute has published an article entitled “Mr. Meshaal, Mr. Haniyeh, where is Qatar? Where is Turkey?” The article offers a brief ‘history’ of the Arab-Israeli conflict and then goes on to call Iran’s Islamic Revolution of 1979 the “turning point in the transformations of Palestine” because “the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran created a renewed motivation in the Palestinian movements for combating the Zionist regime.”

“One of these groups was the Hamas movement, whose original objective and motivation in the formation of this group was the establishment of the goals of the Islamic Revolution in Palestine.”

However, “a review of the dualistic positions of the leaders of this group in recent months is devoid of kindness. One of these leaders is Khaled Meshaal, the head of the Hamas political bureau. He, who has enjoyed the unflinching support of the Islamic Republic in all areas, in relation to the Syria Crisis adopted a different and astonishing position. He supported regime change in Syria when he was the guest of the government of the Assad family for many years. When no country in the West supported this group, Bashar Assad in the capacity of steadfast patron backed him. Recently Meshaal, at the ceremony of the Justice and Development Party of Turkey, addressed Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as the leader of the Islamic world and stated his support for the biggest enemy of Bashar al-Assad.”

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How Iran Covered the NAM Summit

Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi (2nd R) speaks with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (2nd L) during the 16th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran, August 30, 2012. Picture taken August 30, 2012. (photo by REUTERS)

The reformist daily newspaper Etemaad covered in some detail the story of how Mohammed Morsi’s criticisms of Syria have been marginalized in official depictions of the Egyptian president’s NAM speech. Etemaad, in stark contrast to other domestic media, also reported the Syrian prime minister’s walking out of the conference hall in protest of Morsi’s criticism of the Assad regime.

The Iranian organizers of NAM tried their utmost to frame Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s speech as the centerpiece of the summit, and the country’s political as well as military ruling elite were in attendance. Prominent reformist politicians were noticeably absent. Continue reading