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A Meeting Of Minds

Photo montage of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (left) and Iran's influential former president, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani
Iran's official news agency, IRNA, reported on June 10 that "a large number" of students and lecturers of the Qom Theological School held a protest to object to a letter in which former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani called on Iran's supreme leader to deal with President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's accusations against him and other high-ranking officials.

IRNA claims a spokesman for the demonstrators said "the students would avoid any action which could provide pretexts to the enemies to misuse the situation at this sensitive juncture and would follow the instructions of the eminent leader, who has invited the nation to peace and calm."

In the unprecedented letter, Rafsanjani warned that Ahmadinejad is undermining Iran's Islamic establishment.

Meanwhile, Iran's reformist "Etemad Melli" newspaper reported the next day that Rafsanjani discussed the letter with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at a June 9 meeting soon after the influential ex-president issued the open letter.

The paper quoted sources close to Rafsanjani as saying the meeting was "very positive."

The letter inflamed the already heated election atmosphere in Iran.

-- Golnaz Esfandiari

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