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Posts Tagged ‘ Ali Khamenei ’

Why Rafsanjani is so important for the Greens

Six months ago in Mashad, Iran, Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani delivered a speech to a group of Iranian student activists saying: “If people want us, we will govern; and if they don’t, we will have to go.”

This might have seemed like nothing new, but it wasn’t coming from just anyone — it was said by Hashemi Rafsanjani,  Iranian cleric and a two-term Iranian president.  Still to this day known as one of the most powerful individuals in Iranian politics, Rafsanjani leads the body that has the power to unseat the Supreme Leader.

This one statement, coming from Rafsanjani, cracked the entire foundation of Velayat- e- Faghih — the rule of God’s representative over man and country.

Just a few days ago, Rafsanjani reiterated his statement when delivering a speech at the anniversary of a religious ceremony in Tehran. After welcoming his guests, Rafsanjani started speaking about the will of the people and how people are in charge of their own destiny. He said God will not take anyone to Heaven by force who doesn’t want to go himself; each person has the right to choose for him or herself the path he/she will take.

“We have to find the path of God ourselves with our own will. Our own will and that is what is important.”

These subtle political messages are common among Iranian clergies, and they regularly communicate with each other through speeches at different sermons, which can be extremely frustrating to an outsider. Rafsanjani later said:

“The path of good vs. evil has existed since the beginning of time and will continue to be around until the end of time. Humans have been and must continue to be responsible and free to choose their own path in this world.”

No wonder the hard-line conservatives have been severely attacking Rafsanjani lately. He has been around even before the Iranian revolution and has actively been one of the main pillars of the Islamic Republic establishment since its inception. At this point in time, though, he is coming to realize the incompatibility of the current establishment with the new Iranian generation and the democratic world.

He is aware that significant reforms will be needed in order for modern Iran to survive, which is exactly what the Green Movement has been saying for the past year. If the system does not bend with the demands of its people, then it will be just like what Rafsanjani said, but perhaps much harsher.

  • 26 January 2010
  • Posted By Nayda Lakelieh
  • 5 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

That’s Mr. Supreme Leader to You?

Following the news of Mehdi Karroubi ‘recognizing’ Ahmadinejad as head of government, many are quick to label him as a traitor, or wonder why the sudden softened stance from Karroubi. Although both Khatami and Karroubi dropped their demand for a new presidential election, the reformists still maintain that the presidential election was fraudulent. According to The New York Times, Karroubi’s equally controversial and ambiguous statements have created quite a frenzy.

Mr. Karroubi’s son, Hussein Karroubi, contacted Saham News, a news service affiliated with the reform movement, to clarify that his father had not backed off any of his charges of fraud, or of protesters’ being raped and sodomized by prison staff members.

I stand firmly by the belief that cheating took place in the election and the results were doubtful, and I believe the vote count was completely rigged,” the younger Mr. Karroubi said, quoting his father, in an interview with Saham News. “However, since Mr. Khamenei endorsed Mr. Ahmadinejad, for this very reason I consider him the president of the current government of this system.” He referred to the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

What is most interesting about Karroubi’s statements is the fact that he clearly defines Ahmadinejad’s legitimacy as coming from the Supreme Leader, and not the people of Iran; Karroubi continually upholds the belief that the results of the June presidential elections were fraudulent and rigged. Beyond that, referral to Supreme Leader Khamenei as “Mr.” Khamenei, rather than the more proper title of  “Ayatollah Khamenei” or “Supreme Leader Khamenei” also adds to the bold nature of Karroubi’s comments.

Perhaps this was meant as a tacit jab to Ayatollah Khamenei’s own authority. Some report that Karroubi’s use of “Mr. Khamenei” referral was not an accidental slip of the tongue, but rather meant as a deliberate insult to the Supreme Leader, citing that the comments remained unchanged on Saham News for hours.

  • 11 September 2009
  • Posted By Artin
  • 0 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Khamenei Has Ordered Arrest of Karroubi (UPDATED)

Mousavi’s Green Path of Hope news service is reporting that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has ordered opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi’s arrest.  Here is the translation of that report (translation copyright New York Times):

Informed news sources in Tehran report that “hearings” indicate Khamenei has given an order for the arrest of Karroubi.

Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, in a meeting with members of the Center for Strategic Research of the Expediency Council, which is currently run by Hassan Rowhani, in referring to a meeting between himself and Ayatollah Khamenei said, “I will back away from everything, they are not granting me permission to speak at the Friday prayers anymore.”

He alluded to the fact that everything is being done under the authority of the IRGC and current conditions are in the control of IRGC members, and declared his great anxiety.

He continued by referring to the fact that he told Ayatollah Khamenei, “You should not have ordered the arrest of Mehdi Karroubi.” At the end of his meeting, Rafsanjani said he told Khamenei that the continuation of this procedure will make the situation more complicated, to which Khamenei replied with silence.

Update: The New York Times has confirmed this report.

A person close to Mr. Rafsanjani, who asked for anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject, confirmed the report, saying the order was issued at least two weeks ago. That left open the possibility that Ayatollah Khamenei’s speech was something of a final warning to Mr. Karroubi.

Rah-e Sabz: URGENT NEWS: Khamenei Orders Karroubi’s Arrest

http://www.rahesabz.net/story/1399/

Informed news sources in Tehran report that “hearings” indicate Khamenei has given an order for the arrest of Karroubi.

Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, in a meeting with members of the Center for Strategic Research of the Expediency Council, which is currently run by Hassan Rowhani, in referring to a meeting between himeslf and Ayatollah Khamenei said, “I will back away from everything, they are not granting me permission to speak at the Friday prayers anymore.”

He alluded to the fact that everything is being done under the authority of the IRGC and current conditions are in the control of IRGC members, and declared his great anxiety.

He continued by referring to the fact that he told Ayatollah Khamenei, “You should not have ordered the arrest of Mehdi Karroubi. At the end of his meeting, Rafsanjani said he told Khamenei that the continuation of this procedure will make the situation more complicated, to which Khamenei replied with silence.

  • 11 September 2009
  • Posted By Artin
  • 0 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Friday Prayer leader: Why isn’t Mousavi being arrested?

In a further sign of a confrontation between a united conservative front and the Mousavi camp, today’s Friday Prayer leader in Isfahan indirectly called for Mousavi’s arrest. News website Peykiran reports (translation exclusive to New York Times):

[Isfahan’s Friday prayer leader] announced: “The people expect that the Judiciary must bring judgment upon the people who are the main source of this corruption.”

According to Fars News reporting from Isfahan, Ayatollah Yousef Tabatabainejad, in referring to post-election events in his Friday prayer sermon, said, “I ask explicitly why Mir Hossein Mousavi, who played the main role in these political actions, has not been arrested.”

“The people expect that the Judiciary must bring to judgement those people who are the main source of this corruption. Why isn’t Mousavi being arrested?”

In asking why the authorities were after the branches and twigs of these political programs, Tabatabainejad said, “Why are you prosecuting a group of young people, when these young people admit themselves they have fallen victim to others’ lies?”

“Those who are politically motivated who say Qods Day should come with Green symbols must be strangled.”

The government’s actions show they are serious about confronting Mousavi. Coupled with the Supreme Leader’s confrontational speech today, and Sadegh Larijani closing down the 3-person Judiciary committee for investigating Karroubi’s claims, it looks like the stage is set for a final confrontation.

  • 4 September 2009
  • Posted By Artin
  • 0 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Conservative MP: Khamenei Urged MPs to Support Cabinet

In the latest sign suggesting that Ahmadinejad’s political power depends on Khamenei’s backing, AFP is reporting that a senior conservative MP has said the Cabinet’s approval depended on Khamenei’s support. From AFP:

TEHRAN — Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged MPs to approve President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s cabinet, a senior lawmaker said on Friday, the latest sign of his full backing for the hardliner.

The ISNA news agency quoted Deputy Spearker Mohammad Reza Bahonar as saying that if Khamenei had not backed the proposed line-up, eight or nine nominees would have been rejected in Thursday’s confidence vote rather than only three.

“The message of the leader played a big role,” Bahonar said.

The conservative-dominated parliament approved 18 of 21 nominees for the cabinet, rejecting two of three women proposed and the would-be energy minister.

“If we had not received the leader’s recommendations, probably eight or nine ministers would have failed to win the vote of confidence, and that would not have been a good start for the government,” said Bahonar, a well-known critic of the president.

“If we had not received the message of the leader, the ministers of oil, industry, commerce, cooperatives, transport and foreign affairs would have been rejected,” Bahonar added.

He said Khamenei’s “vision” prevented this from happening and “changed the view” of parliament.

Mohammad Reza Bahonar is Secretary-General of the Islamic Society of Engineers, a lynchpin of Iran’s conservative establishment.

Bahonar generally supported Ahmadinejad from 2005 until earlier this summer, when Ahmadinejad tried to appoint a loyal politician who favored relations with Israel to be his Vice President. The Supreme Leader overruled the appointment and now Rahim Mashaie is Ahmadinejad’s Chief of Staff.

Ahmadinejad is a member of the Engineers, but the party is generally closer to pragmatic conservatives like Ali Larijani.

  • 1 September 2009
  • Posted By Artin
  • 2 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Supreme Leader, Armed Forces Pressure MPs to Accept Cabinet

According to unconfirmed reports, the Supreme Leader’s office and the Commander of Iran’s Armed Forces have been pressuring MPs to accept Ahmadinejad’s Cabinet. Rouydad News reports (h/t New York Times):

There have been contacts from the office of the Supreme Leader and people close to Ahmadinejad to MPs [to support his Cabinet]. In one case, Commander of the Armed Forces Hassan Firouzabadi called some MPs into his office.

One MP told Rouydad: “They have contacted Representatives and they want Representatives to approve all of the Cabinet members. Their goal is to show, through a high vote of approval of all Ministers, that their power is great and that the influence of post-election protests has been negligible.

When asked who did the contacting, this MP said, “The contacts came from the Supreme Leader’s office and some people close to Ahmadinejad, and Maj. Gen Hassan Firouzabadi even called some Representatives into his office.”

According to the information of Rouydad’s reporter, the decision to put pressure on MPs to approve Cabinet officials was made last week in a meeting with the presence of Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, Ayatollah  Ahmad Jannati, Mehdi Taeb, Morteza Moghtadaie, and some of Ahmadinejad’s deputies and some MPs including Gholamali Haddad-Adel, Mehdi Koochakzadeh, Hamid Rasaie, Movid Hosseini-Sadr, and Kazem Mousavi, as well the heads of two pro-government newspapers.

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Tell Google: Stop playing Persian Gulf name games!

May 14, 2012
Larry Page
Chief Executive Officer
Google Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, California 94043

Dear Mr. Page:

It has come to our attention that Google has begun omitting the title of the Persian Gulf from its Google Maps application. This is a disconcerting development given the undisputed historic and geographic precedent of the name Persian Gulf, and the more recent history of opening up the name to political, ethnic, and territorial disputes. However unintentionally, in adopting this practice, Google is participating in a dangerous effort to foment tensions and ethnic divisions in the Middle East by politicizing the region’s geographic nomenclature. Members of the Iranian-American community are overwhelmingly opposed to such efforts, particularly at a time when regional tensions already have been pushed to the brink and threaten to spill over into conflict. As the largest grassroots organization in the Iranian-American community, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) calls on Google to not allow its products to become propaganda tools and to immediately reinstate the historically accurate, apolitical title of “Persian Gulf” in all of its informational products, including Google Maps.

Historically, the name “Persian Gulf” is undisputed. The Greek geographer and astronomer Ptolemy referencing in his writings the “Aquarius Persico.” The Romans referred to the "Mare Persicum." The Arabs historically call the body of water, "Bahr al-Farsia." The legal precedent of this nomenclature is also indisputable, with both the United Nations and the United States Board of Geographic Names confirming the sole legitimacy of the term “Persian Gulf.” Agreement on this matter has also been codified by the signatures of all six bordering Arab countries on United Nations directives declaring this body of water to be the Persian Gulf.

But in the past century, and particularly at times of escalating tensions, there have been efforts to exploit the name of the Persian Gulf as a political tool to foment ethnic division. From colonial interests to Arab interests to Iranian interests, the opening of debate regarding the name of the Persian Gulf has been a recent phenomenon that has been exploited for political gain by all sides. Google should not enable these politicized efforts.

In the 1930s, British adviser to Bahrain Sir Charles Belgrave proposed to rename the Persian Gulf, “Arabian Gulf,” a proposal that was rejected by the British Colonial and Foreign offices. Two decades later, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company resurrected the term during its dispute with Mohammad Mossadegh, the Iranian Prime Minister whose battle with British oil interests would end in a U.S.-sponsored coup d'état that continues to haunt U.S.-Iran relations. In the 1960s, the title “Arabian Gulf” became central to propaganda efforts during the Pan-Arabism era aimed at exploiting ethnic divisions in the region to unite Arabs against non-Arabs, namely Iranians and Israelis. The term was later employed by Saddam Hussein to justify his aims at territorial expansion. Osama Bin Laden even adopted the phrase in an attempt to rally Arab populations by emphasizing ethnic rivalries in the Middle East.

We have serious concerns that Google is now playing into these efforts of geographic politicization. Unfortunately, this is not the first time Google has stirred controversy on this topic. In 2008, Google Earth began including the term “Arabian Gulf” in addition to Persian Gulf as the name for the body of water. NIAC and others called on you then to stop using this ethnically divisive propaganda term, but to no avail. Instead of following the example of organizations like the National Geographic Society, which in 2004 used term “Arabian Gulf” in its maps but recognized the error and corrected it, Google has apparently decided to allow its informational products to become politicized.

Google should rectify this situation and immediately include the proper name for the Persian Gulf in Google Maps and all of its informational products. The exclusion of the title of the Persian Gulf diminishes your applications as informational tools, and raises questions about the integrity and accuracy of information provided by Google.

We strongly urge you to stay true to Google’s mission – “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” – without distorting or politicizing that information. We look forward to an explanation from you regarding the recent removal of the Persian Gulf name from Google Maps and call on you to immediately correct this mistake.

Sincerely,

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