News / Middle East

Rafsanjani Calls Iranian Leaders Ignorant

Former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani attends the biannual Assembly of Experts' meeting in Tehran March 8, 2011.
Former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani attends the biannual Assembly of Experts' meeting in Tehran March 8, 2011.
Reuters
Former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has accused Iran's leadership of incompetence and ignorance just days after he was barred from standing in an election next month, the opposition Kaleme website reported on Thursday.
 
Rafsanjani's comments appeared to add to the political conflict between those loyal to the leadership and opposition groups who have been marginalized since post-election unrest in 2009.
 
“I don't think the country could have been run worse, even if it had been planned in advance,” Rafsanjani said to members of his campaign team on Wednesday, according to the Kaleme report. “I don't want to stoop to their propaganda and attacks but ignorance is troubling. Don't they understand what they're doing?”
 
Before he was disqualified from next month's presidential election, the 78-year-old Rafsanjani caused high interest in a ballot many believe was a race between hardliners. He attracted the endorsement of reformist groups whose leaders had disputed the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
 
Rafsanjani did not indicate specifically who he was addressing but after the unrest following Ahmadinejad re-election in 2009, he criticized the authorities' heavy-handed response and has since been regarded as a threat to the establishment.
 
The two-term president warned of “dangerous” threats from the United States and Israel, which have threatened to use military action against what they suspect is Iran's development of nuclear weapons.
 
He said he had not realized his candidacy would create a wave in the country but that it was a sign of people's despair. Now was the time to stay calm, he said.
 
“In no instance should people despair. There will be a day when those who must come, will come,” he said, an apparent reference to advocates for political and social reforms who have been sidelined.
 
With Rafsanjani and Ahmadinejad's close ally, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie, now out of the picture, the election field is again dominated by hardliners loyal to Iran's clerical leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
 
Rafsanjani's ally Hassan Rohani, a former nuclear negotiator, and reformist Mohammad Aref, remain in the contest.
 
Rafsanjani said the experiences of rebuilding the country after the Iran-Iraq war was one that was needed now. He was elected president in 1989, a year after the war ended, and his administration came to be called the “government of reconstruction”, an era when economic rebuilding and reform put Iran back on its feet.
 
“The foreigners called me “easy man” because it took no time before the doors opened. Now that experience could be easily used again, except back then, people were sympathetic.”
 
According to the report, Rafsanjani - regarded as one of the founding fathers of the Islamic Republic - said he should not have run.
 
“There was a flood of letters and telephone calls from Najaf, Qom and Mashhad, all major clerics for my candidacy. How could I be so obstinate and say no to them, especially to the youth?”
 
Analysts say he was disqualifed from the election because the campaign had already become hugely popular and he was regarded as a threat to the leadership.

You May Like

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid