Friday, July 17, 2009

Rafsanjani's Speech, as reported by British, Arab, Israeli, and Iranian Press

by Julie Jigsawnovich

Rafsanjani has the Constitutional power to remove Supreme Leader Khamenei from office. Khamenei and his son are reportedly behind the extremely brutal crackdowns on Iranians protesting presidential election results widely believed to be fraudulent--and on journalists documenting and reporting the protests. Rafsanjani's own daughter was previously arrested, and later released, after voicing her support for opposition candidate Moussavi. It is interesting to compare the reportage on Rafsanjani's speech today by British, Arab and Israeli, and Iranian journalists. I have added italics to these excerpts for emphasis.

BBC posted video of Rafsanjani speaking, with an English translation overdubbed. Here's a transcript:
"We should base our work on law and we should open the way for debates. Maybe if we would be able to have open debates, we would be able in a short span of time to return trust to the people. We shouldn't have people in prison under such names. We should allow those people to go back to their homes. We should not allow our enemies to blame us for imprisoning some people. We should not allow them to laugh at us, and to plot against us. We should try to be brave enough, patient enough to tolerate each other."
See the video at:

Alireza Ronaghi, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Tehran, said:
"Rafsanjani said we must preserve the Islamic nature of our government and without the people's votes and trust, the government cannot be Islamic.
"And that's the argument that Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi [another defeated presidential candidate] have been putting forth.
"He's trying to open a way for solving the standoff, and give a convincing option for those dissatisfied with the election outcome."

Israeli website, reports:
"Tens of thousands - mostly pro-opposition but also some government backers - packed the prayer hall and shouted competing slogans. Hard-liners made traditional chants of death to America, while opposition supporters countered with death to Russia - a reference to government's ties to Moscow. Many pro-reform worshipers wore green headbands or wristbands or had green prayer rugs - the opposition movement's color.
"In the front row of the worshipers was opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, attending for the first time since the election. Mousavi claims he won the election and that results showing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's victory were fraudulent. He insists Ahmadinejad's government will be illegitimate."

Given that Iranian state-run IRIB tends to be used as a propaganda tool, the concluding sentence of this article about Rafsanjani's Friday Prayers is refreshingly frank:
"Outlining the procedure of the Islamic Revolution in Iran under the leadership of the late Imam Khomeini and the principles the revolution was basically built upon, he said it was a fundamental notion with the late Imam Khomeini that if people were not satisfied, then the country’s affairs would not succeed."

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