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Rafsanjani Criticizes Iranian Political Situation

Hashemi Rafsanjani
Hashemi Rafsanjani
Former Iranian President Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, a top Iranian cleric who has supported the opposition, has severely criticized the country's political situation, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

The criticism came in a letter published on Rafsanjani's website on June 27, one day before the 29th anniversary of a 1981 blast at the Tehran office of the Islamic Republican Party that killed many political leaders.

Rafsanjani, who was president from 1989-1997, described Iran's current political environment as deeply divisive, even as speculation mounts that Rafsanjani himself may soon lose his place in the country's political order.

Rafsanjani currently chairs the Assembly of Experts, a body charged with the supervision of Iran's supreme leader. But he has prominently supported the political opposition and is a major critic of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, whom he lost to in the 2005 presidential election.

Nima Rashedan, an Iranian political analyst, said he does not believe Rafsanjani will lose his place in Iran's political system.

Rashedan said that while Rafsanjani has lost much of his influence, "It's up to this ruling system to decide what cost they ought to pay to eliminate [Rafsanjani] from it. I personally don't believe that this system, especially [Supreme Leader] Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is completely persuaded to eliminate Mr. [Rafsanjani]."

Rashedan says Rafsanjani's letter was addressed to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

"The metaphors used in this letter clearly suggests that of all the political players at the time [of the 1981 blast], only Mr. Khamenei is still alive and has a vital role in the politics of this country and this letter is [therefore] addressed to him," Rashedan told Radio Farda.