Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani

Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, the head of the Expediency Council, says the “extremists” in the Islamic Republic establishment have opposed him since the beginning of the 1979 Iranian Revolution because they find his views on “Islam’s focus on citizens’ rights” intolerable.

Rafsanfani spoke on Saturday May 25 to a group of his supporters who had gathered to express their disappointment in his disqualification from the election by the Guardian Council. The moderate cleric told the group: “I have never been after power and position. I have served like a soldier for the Islamic Revolution and the system that our masses suffered and fought for under the leadership of the Imam [Khomeini].”

He added that he will endure as long as his duties call for patience.

Last Tuesday, the Ministry of the Interior announced the names of eight candidates approved by the Guardian Council to run in the presidential election. Many prominent figures of the Islamic Republic, including conservative MP Ali Motahari and the daughter of the late founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomeini, have called on Iran’s Supreme Leader to appeal the council’s decision, but so far Ayatollah Khamenei has not reacted at all to Rafsanjani’s situation.

Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani stressed that the country needs to move away from partisanship in order to be saved from foreign threats and sanctions as well as the extremists inside its borders.

The presidential election is set for June 14, and Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani has said that he will not appeal the decision of the Guardian Council.