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Once again Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani will not lead Friday Prayers in Tehran tomorrow, making it the 7th week of his absence.

Since 1979, Rafsanjani has been a consistent and weighty presence at Friday Prayers. Tomorrow's prayers will instead be led by Ayatollah Mohammad Imami Kashani.

Normally led by the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, there are four other "temporary imams" who step in: Ahmad Janati, the chairman of the Guardians Council; Ayatollah Kashani, a member of the Assembly of Experts; Ahmad Khatami, a member of the Assembly of Experts; and Rafsanjani, the chairman of the assembly.

The reason for Rafsanjani's absence is not clear. The Huffington Post reported at the beginning of the month that Rafsanjani had declined to lead the prayers on two consecutive occasions.

The other possibility is that, after his support for Musavi and his open criticism of the supreme leader, he is being prevented from appearing in front of such a large and potent mass of people.

-- Mazyar Mokfi

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