Rafsanjani Renews Call for Reconciliation

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The deputy chief of the Majles Commission for Health and Medicine has announced that it will be finalized next week whether a motion for the impeachment of the Minister of Health Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi will be presented before MPs. The deputy chief is quoted by the Majles news agency as stating: “Unfortunately at the moment medicine and medical equipment in the country are in great crisis, [and] it can be observed in the shortage of special drugs and the disarray of hospitals.” The representative for Rasht also criticized the ministry for failing to plan for this eventuality and not stockpiling drugs. Referring to a possible call for the minister’s impeachment, the commission’s deputy chief said: “The subject in recent weeks has become one of the subjects of debate amongst the representatives … On the basis of the planning undertaken, the decision regarding the impeachment of the Minister of Health, Medicine and Medical Education will be finalised next week.”

Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the head of the Expediency Discernment Council, has stated in an interview with Entekhab that he stands by the comments he made at his final Friday prayer sermon in July 2009, in the aftermath of Iran’s controversial presidential election [and which I attended at the time]. Moreover, as Ebtekar News observes, at the time Rafsanjani was also head of the Assembly of Experts, whose job it is, at least in principle, to monitor the supreme leader’s performance and appoint his successor. Since his famous Friday prayer sermon, Rafsanjani has lost that position to Ayatollah Mohammad Reza Mahdavi Kani, a stalwart of the traditional right, who is foremost concerned with preserving the Islamic system he played an important role in bringing into being.

In his famous Friday prayer sermon, Rafsanjani offered his recommendations for the restoration of calm, as protests had swept the country. Amongst his recommendations were the release of political prisoners and the recognition of the protesters’  demands to the end of realising “national reconciliation.” Since that time Rafsanjani has repeatedly called for such a reconciliation, suggesting it is the only route for the country to return to a state of “normality and calm.” At the time, Rafsanjani’s speech was met with severe criticism by numerous Principalists and Khamenei loyalists, especially in light of the supreme leader’s speech some weeks earlier which had essentially told the protesters to accept Mahmud Ahmadinejad’s re-election and move on.

In his interview Rafsanjani added, comparing the present with his experience in government during the Iran-Iraq war: “At the moment the basic problem is with the foreigners. In the [Iran-Iraq] war it was the same. We gave priority to the reform of foreign relations and we started with the ceasefire. In those negotiations the opposing side also understood that it is faced with a rational movement in Iran. Of course they also cooperated well with us … In that period on the internal scene differences were intensified. My solution was that we form a government that is a combination of the influential wings of the revolution (the conservatives, independents, and the radicals).”

Criticism of Ali and Sadeq Larijani

The website Digarban carries the comments of plainclothes quasi-official vigilantes critical of the Ali and Sadeq Larijani, the Majles speaker and judiciary chief, respectively. Ruhollah Mahdavi, who writes for the hard-line website Bashgah-e Khabarnegaran-e Javan, reacting to the acquittal of preacher Mansur Arzi after having threatened to murder President Mahmud Ahmadinejad’s chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, claimed the judiciary was “under the influence” of this preacher.

In reaction to the comments of Mohammad Javad Larijani, head of Iran’s human rights council, who stated, “If expedient, we will negotiate with America in the depths of hell,” Mahdavi had previously said: “Why doesn’t anyone attack him when the Larijani brother clearly talks about probable relations with America?”

Unlike other hard-line bloggers, particularly Ahmadinejad supporters, who have been arrested as a result of their attacks on the Larijani brothers, Digarban claims that Mahdavi, a self-styled virtual “soldier of the soft war,” enjoys the protection of the Revolutionary Guards.

Majles’ Commission head comments on talks

The head of the Majles’ Commission for National Security and Foreign Policy, Ala’oddin Boroujerdi, commenting on Iran’s negotiations with the P5+1 over its controversial nuclear program, has told Khaneh-ye Mellat, the Majles’ news agency: “In the face of confidence building steps that Iran will show in the negotiations and the opportunity the negotiations put in the hands of the West, part of the West’s program in negotiations must be the removal of sanctions”. The MP for Boroujerd added: “The removal of sanctions by the West must for certain be made part of the formula, because [they] are an oppressive, unjust and imposed act upon the Iranian nation”. Finally, he stressed that Iran requires 20% uranium for the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR) and “the principle of enrichment will never change.”

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Hardline MP: Two Groups don’t want Ahmadinejad to finish his term

Controversial hardline parliamentarian, Ruhollah Hosseinian, has told Mehr News that two groups are trying their utmost to ensure that President Ahmadinejad’s government comes to an end before his second term officially ends. The two groups in question, according to Hosseinian are the “seditionists”, which is a broad reference for the Green Movement and its Reformist sympathisers, but also “those inside the regime who support the seditionists”, sometimes referred to as the “silent seditionists”, which are said to include Majles Speaker Ali Larijani and his Deputy, Mohammadreza Bahonar, two Principalist politicians who were reported to have congratulated opposition leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi for winning the 2009 presidential election. Other Conservative politicians who are deemed to not have condemned the uprising of 2009 with sufficient severity also fall into this category. He stressed that Ahmadinejad’s opponents endeavour to anger the president, so  as to provoke and “abuse” his main “weakness”, his “bad temper” and “stubbornness”, which is not expedient for the country.

Hosseinian also expressed his disagreement with the President being summoned before parliament to answer questions on his government’s role in the on-going economic crisis.

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Ahmadinejad Responds after Revealing Judiciary Chief’s ‘confidential’ Letter

Despite the Judiciary’s ‘confidential’ letter to President Ahmadinejad’s request to visit Evin prison as “inexpedient”, the president has not only published the confidential letter in question by Judiciary Chief Sadeq Larijani, but also gone as far as to publicly declaim via the presidential office’s news outlet that he has no need for the judiciary’s permission if he so chooses to visit the notorious jail, which currently houses most of Iran’s high profile political prisoners, including his ally and press advisor, Ali Akbar Javanfekr.

Ahmadinejad has been criticized by much of the Iranian press, both hardline and Reformist, who claim rather than address the dire economic situation, he would prefer to stir up controversy by insisting on a visit to Evin jail, against the advisement of the judiciary.

Ahmadinejad’s relations with Majles Speaker, Ali Larijani, and the head of the Judiciary, Sadeq Larijani, have long been fraught with tensions and have been progressively deteriorating in recent months.

Comments by Ali Larijani carried by Arman, close to former President Rafsanjani, seem to imply that Larijani sought to end the vicious circle of mutual recrimination because of the “conditions of the country” by cancelling a press conference in which Larijani intended to reply to the president’s direct attack made during the latter’s controversial press conference held on 2nd October.

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Ahmadinejad’s one-time ardent supporter bids farewell to politics

Fatemeh Rajabi, one of President Ahmadinejad most ardent defenders in the Iranian media, has announced that she is bidding farewell to politics. Rajabi is also the wife of Gholamhossein Elham, another tenacious supporter of the president, who acted as government spokesman during Ahmadinejad’s first term.

Azim Mahmoudabadi’s article for the Reformist daily Etemaad, points out that Rajabi is most famous for her book “The Miracle of the Third Millennium , the “miracle” in question was none other than Ahmadinejad himself. She penned the book after the Ahmadinejad’s unanticipated election victory in 2005.

However, since the beginning of Ahmadinejad’s second term and in particular since the president’s public falling out with the Supreme Leader, Rajabi has taken a back seat, where previously she had gone so far as to attribute Ahmadinejad’s management of the country to the 12th Imam of Shi’ite Islam, who Twelver Shi’is believe currently resides in Occultation, and will one day return to save humanity.

Mahmoudabadi writes scathingly: “Silence is not justifiable or logical from any point of view. Why if the praise, compliments, and acclaim were correct, even though now the life of the Ahmadinejad government is nearing its end, the very least expectation of yesterday’s backers of Ahmadinejad is that in these circumstances they don’t leave their “Third Miracle of the Millennium” alone. [Furthermore], that they bravely defend their statements expressing the righteousness of the president and his close circle – of course not from the Reformists, but from the side of the Principalists.”

“In the event that [Rajabi] after seven years has understood her mistakes regarding an individual [i.e. Ahmadinejad], again, the least expected is that she openly accepts her mistakes and in a logical way expresses regret over those mistakes and shows contrition.”

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