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Iranian Speaker Receives Support From Qom Religious Figures

Ali Larijani

Ali Larijani

Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani has received support from religious figures in the holy city of Qom, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

The statements this weekend in favor of Larijani came in response to earlier verbal attacks against him. Larijani, a parliament deputy from Qom, had faced calls for his resignation as speaker 10 days ago from other conservative factions.

Paris-based Iranian political analyst Mohammad Jawad Akbarian told Radio Farda on July 11 that the attacks on Larijani and the response "show a clear divide among governing officials from the public perspective."

Larijani is a conservative politician who is close to the influential ayatollahs in the seminary city of Qom, although this support has not made him immune from attacks by other conservatives.

Akbarian explained that Iran's "fundamentalists, even Mr. Larijani and quite a few members of the Consultative Assembly who criticize the government, would not want to disrupt" the perception of public unity in Iran.

That's why criticism of fellow conservatives is often very carefully couched, he said.

"Unity in this system [has been essential] for the survival of the Islamic republic's government and its leadership," Akbarian said. Iran's ruling officials "see the government moving in a direction threatening the endurance of this system as well as the leadership. Hence, they are forced to criticize and ultimately such action could destroy unity among them."

Larijani served as secretary of the Supreme National Security Council from 2005 to 2007, serving as Iran's chief nuclear negotiator.

From 1994 to 2004, he was also the head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, the country's radio and television broadcaster.