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Iran’s former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has posted on his website an excerpt from his memoirs titled: "The word 'fear' doesn’t have any meaning for us. There is a test for every generation.”

The post and particularly its headline has been interpreted by a number of observers and bloggers as Rafsanjani’s indirect response to the equally indirect warning issued by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei on July 20.

Iranian officials and senior clerics usually avoid talking explicitly about each other’s deeds or comments and prefer to make implicit or tangential remarks or use metaphors.

Khamenei had warned Iran’s “elite” against playing into the hands of "enemies." "The elite are undergoing a test, which is a big one. If we fail in this test, we will not only fall behind for one year, it will also lead to decline,” he said.

The comments were seen as a reaction to Rafsanjani’s sermon at the July 17 Tehran Friday Prayers where he said that many Iranians have lost their trust in the Islamic establishment following the disputed June 12 presidential vote.

Today’s excerpt on Rafsanjani‘s website concerns his memories from 40 years ago. Rafsanjani was 35 years old and was attending prayers at a mosque where a number of other opposition activists were present.

He says he knew that he was being watched by the shah's secret police, but he told himself while thinking about his guru Ayatollah Khomeini that he shouldn’t fear anything.

The post on the website adds that “the young [Rafsanjani] had learned quite well the lesson about moving beyond fear for people’s rights from the great Khomeini."

-- Golnaz Esfandiari

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