On Sunday, Iran’s state TV broadcast a wrenching and stunning 20-minute confession from a well-known public figure. But former Vice President Mohammad Ali Abtahi, a reformist cleric, was clearly not himself. For one, he was not allowed to wear his clerical robe, and he had lost visible weight
Tens of thousands of government opponents packed Iran’s main Islamic prayer service Friday, chanting “freedom, freedom” and other slogans as their top clerical backer Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani delivered a sermon bluntly criticizing the country’s leadership over the crackdown on election protests. Outside, police and pro-government Basiji militiamen fired tear gas and charged thousands of protesters who chanted “death to the dictator” and called on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to resign
Iranians have been waiting for weeks to hear from former President Ayatullah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. At the height of the demonstrations on Tehran’s streets, when hundreds of thousands of people called for a do-over of the June 12 presidential election officially won by incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, many Iranians have wondered if Rafsanjani, one of the Islamic Republic’s most powerful men and a leading supporter of defeated presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi, would mount a challenge to Ahmadinejad’s main patron, the Supreme Leader Ayatullah Khamenei. So when word spread that Rafsanjani would deliver the keynote address at Friday prayers July 17 at Tehran University, one of the country’s highest-profile platforms, many opposition supporters hoped his speech would provide new impetus to the protest movement
The brother of powerful Iranian cleric Ali Akbar Hasehemi Rafsanjani hailed the latter’s upcoming Friday sermon as one that Iranians have highly anticipated and said that a "great turnout" is expected. Rafsanjani, a former president and normally a frequent speaker at the prayer service on Islam’s holy day, has not appeared at the weekly sermon since the disputed June 12 presidential vote, according to the semi-official Iranian Labor News Agency.
Top clerics and seminary students in Iran’s holy city of Qom have come out against the results of the disputed June Iranian presidential election, which was declared a landslide victory for the hard-line incumbent. The Association of Teachers and Researchers of the Qom seminary school issued a statement on Saturday, saying that the election was skewed.
After more than two weeks of silence amid Iran’s violent election fallout, former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani — a key Iranian cleric — emerged Sunday to call out "suspicious sources" who are creating a rift between the public and the Islamic government. He called the aftermath of the June 12 presidential election “a tangled mess, perpetrated by suspicious sources whose objectives are to create differences and separations between the people and the system and eroding the trust of the people in the Islamic system,” the Iranian Labor News Agency reported Sunday.
He’s a key Iranian politician whose name is on the lips of opponents, supporters and experts alike in the bloody aftermath of the Iran’s presidential elections. But despite the chaos that’s plagued the Islamic Republic for the past two weeks — even resulting in the brief detention of his daughter — former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has remained silent and largely unseen. The last time the world saw Iran’s assembled leadership was June 19, when Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei endorsed the victory of hard-line incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the hotly contested June 12 election at Friday prayers.