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Rafsanjani Vs. Khamenei: No Differences Says Rafsanjani

Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Iran’s former president and head of the Assembly of Experts, the body that oversees the work of the supreme leader, has said that there are no differences between him and Ayatollah Khamenei.

Since last year’s disputed reelection of Mahmud Ahmadinejad, when Supreme Leader Khamenei threw his weight behind the Iranian president and Rafsanjani supported the opposition and condemned the postelection crackdown, there have been a number of reports about a growing rift between the two men and their attempts to undermine each other.

Rafsanjani, however, in his electronic newsletter “Gahnameh,” said that certain people inside Iran want people to believe that there are differences between him and Khamenei. He said that he and Khamenei, whom he said he has known and worked with for 50 years, have stressed “the solidity" of their relations, especially over the past year or two, in private sessions, speeches, and interviews.

Rafsanjani said both men love the “Islamic Revolution” and both men constantly bear in mind the recommendation of the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomeini, who reportedly said in the last days of his life that Rafsanjani and Khamenei always remain united to ensure the continuity of the revolution.

Here are some excerpts from the interview:

“Certain people inside Iran are fanning divisions that never existed and do not exist, and foreigners looking for propaganda feed themselves some tasty morsels.”

“Why should we have differences? Even now we sit together every two weeks and discuss every issue in the country. These are meetings where we speak without restrictions because they are not recorded.“

Regarding an open letter Rafsanjani wrote last June to Khamenei in which he called on the supreme leader to deal with Ahmadinejad’s “lies,” he did not comment on the content, only to say that he didn’t think the timing of the letter, which was issued before the presidential vote, was suitable.

The Iranian daily ”Tehran Emrooz” today reported about a campaign against Rafsanjani ahead of next week’s meeting of the Assembly of Experts. The daily said that some of the assembly's members are planning to give Rafsanjani an ultimatum.

Rafsanjani’s extensive comments about his close relations with the Iranian leader could well be an attempt to prevent such a move.

-- Golnaz Esfandiari

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