Roozonline – Assembly of Experts and Expediency Council chairman Hashemi Rafsanjani announced for the first time that he has reduced relations with the Islamic Republic supreme leader seyed Ali Khamenei. He also criticized Khamenei for his “silence toward the elimination of the clergy” and said that Mahmoud “Ahmadinejad has put the regime’s achievements on sale.”
Less than two weeks ago, Rafsanjani’s office released a letter response to Vatan Emrooz daily – close to Mehrdad Bazrpash, an official in the Ahmadinejad administration. Media networks close to the administration claimed that the letter was released without the knowledge of the Assembly of Experts chairman. But in an interview with the “Modiriyat Ertebatat” (“Information Management”) journal, Rafsanjani reiterated his previous positions, criticized ayatollah Khamenei for “silence toward the elimination of the clergy,” and said that he had reduced relations with the supreme leader of the Islamic regime.
Rafsanjani also said, “I prefer to retire from politics,” but “I fear that it would have negative political implications and be viewed as a political tantrum.” Media outlets close to the administration and the Islamic Passdaran Revolutionary Guards Corps seized on the first part of Rafsanjani’s remark, while ignoring the second part.
According to ILNA, Rafsanjani said in the interview, “Unfortunately, during the debates, Mr. Ahmadinejad had made claims that were untrue. The true supporters of the regime expected a reaction from the [supreme] leader, because it wasn’t just about me. In that debate you saw a kind of confrontation with the clergy. Under the guise of opposing me, Mr. Khatami, Mr. Nategh-Nouri, and Mr. Karoubi, who were presidents and Majlis speakers, [Ahmadinejad] put all of the regime’s achievements on sale and implied that the clergy are incompetent in governing the country.”
Rafsanjani then blamed ayatollah Khamanei’s silence as the reason for writing his famous letter three days before last year’s election. He said, “At the Imam’s memorial I told him [Ahmadinejad], you have said incomplete things. I prefer that you correct them; otherwise I have to respond. I waited a few days and didn’t hear anything. Afterward I prepared a letter, because somebody had to respond to those claims.”
Rafsanjani said, “In the remaining time, I sent the letter to the supreme leader but unfortunately the letter hadn’t reached him during the two-hour window,” adding, “Because I didn’t receive an answer, I published the letter in the final moments before leaving [to see the supreme leader]. When I arrived there, the leader said, ‘I was reading your letter on the computer,’ meaning that he still hadn’t seen the original letter, even after it was published. I asked, ‘What do you think?’ He said, ‘I have no comments on the content, but want to mention one thing, that Mr. Ahmadinejad did not accuse you of corruption but only talked about your son.’ I said, ‘The atmosphere was such that even though he didn’t name me, everything was pointed at me.’ He said, ‘I really don’t have a comment on the content of the letter, but if I were you, I would have published it after the election.’”
In the interview, Rafsanjani also said, “Before, we had regular, definite weekly meetings. As the amount of work has decreased, we now meet once every other week, usually lasting about two hours. If things come up in between our meetings, we speak on the phone or in person.”