Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani

The moderate Iranian cleric Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is calling for the inclusion and participation of all groups and all political stripes in the coming parliamentary elections.

Iranian media report that Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the head of Iran’s Expediency Council, told a meeting of professors and researchers from Qom Seminary: “An energetic election can only be held with the participation and approval of all groups and tastes in the Revolutionary family, whereas monologues and monopoly have never been adequate to run the country.”

He noted that even throughout the “imposed war” (the Iran-Iraq War), elections continued, and the participation of the people and groups was never curtailed. Hashemi Rafsanjani added: “The perpetual presence of people in the arena and the participation of parties and groups and different social strata have always been approved by Ayatollah Khomeini, the leader of Iran’s Revolution, and by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the current leader of the Islamic Republic, and no one can deny it.”

He criticized the current situation, saying: “They must clearly answer the questions and doubts presented by the people.”

Hashemi Rafsanjani went on to add that the people have certain expectations of the Islamic Republic after three decades of its existence, and these demands should be realized.

He accused the establishment of trampling the law, noting that laws passed by Parliament go unimplemented, while directives handed down by the Supreme Leader are fulfilled.

Hashemi Rafsanjani maintained: “What has caused the difficulties is not the constitution or the system. It is imposing personal views over laws and governmental systems and denying legal supervision over public responsibilities and actions.”

Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has been gradually isolated by the Islamic Republic establishment because he supported the reformists in 2009, when their candidates, MirHosein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, challenged the results of the presidential election. The mass demonstrations that followed rocked the stability of the regime.

Several reformists groups are now boycotting the coming elections to protest the house arrest of the two reformist presidential candidates, as well as what’s seen as a closed and suspect election process.

Hashemi Rafsanajni chose his words cautiously in all of his statements and avoided attaching himself to any particular group; however, in the past two years he has lost his position as the chairman of the Assembly of Experts, and his children have faced public jeers and prosecution in Islamic Republic courts.