Friday, December 17, 2010
Publish date: July 23 • Printable version    

Moderate cleric attacked by Iranian hardliner

Ahmad Khatami, Islamic Republic hardliner announced today that the future of moderate cleric, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, head of the Assembly of Experts rests in the hands of the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei.

Saham News reports that in a meeting of Revolutionary Guards in Tabriz, Khatami criticized Hashemi Rafsanjani for holding on to the political stances he had endorsed last July.

On July 16, 2009, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani spoke at the Friday Mass Prayers of Tehran declaring the country in a state of crisis. Following the June 2009 presidential elections, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's opponents challenged his victory and millions of people took to the streets to protest the alleged fraud that had brought Ahmadinejad back to power.

The government cracked down on protesters on the streets and arrested numerous protesters. Tens of people died in the government’s violent retaliation to the peaceful protests.

Hashemi Rafsanjani condemned the violent confrontation with protesters in his July 16 speech last year and urged the government to release all political prisoners and compensate the victims of the events.

Government hardliners slammed Hashemi for his statements at the Friday Mass and since that day Hashemi has not attended the Mass Prayers in Tehran.

Some recent reports have indicated that Rafsanjani is ready to retire from politics whilst his supporters claim he is under pressure to do so by government hardliners.

In the past year a number of Hashemi Rafsanjani’s family members, including his daughter, Faezeh Hashemi and Hossein Marashi, his brother-in-law, were arrested. An warrant to arrest his son, Mehdi Hashemi on corruption charges has also been issued by Iranian judiciary. Mehdi Hashemi is currently in Britain.

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