February 19, 2011 • 11:24p02 0
Cleric Ahmad Reza Hajati calls for dismissing Rafsanjani from head of Assembly of Experts( Khobregan)
January 10, 2011 • 11:24p01 0
آیت الله هاشمی رفسنجانی:توهین و تهمت، شیوه کسانی است که پایههای قدرت خویش را بر تارهای عنکبوتی بنا نهادهاند / Ayatollah Rafsanjani condemns recent attacks on senior religious figures
Ayatollah Hashemi-Rafsanjani – chairman of the Assembly of Experts and Expediency Discernment Council – in a statement strongly condemned the recent attacks by hardliners and their propaganda machine on senior religious figures that met with the families of political prisoners and comforted them.
It should also be mentioned that Rafsanjani’s daughter, Faezeh, recently met met with the family of Feizollah Arabsorkhi – imprisoned senior reformist figure – and comforted them. In this visit Faezeh Hashemi-Rafsanjani by expressing sorrow for the imprisonment of Feizollah Arabsorkhi and the arrest of his daughter – Fatemeh – who was unjustly imprisoned for couple of weeks, said: “These days we are witnessing events that are unbelievable. Who would have thought in the past that in the Islamic Republic system a mother who has a two-year old child (referring to Fatemeh Arabsorkhi) and is not in good shape physically would be arrested to put pressure on her imprisoned father and her family?” Faezeh Hashemi-Rafsanjani added: “Slightest fairness and thought would have been enough to make it clear in interrogations that those who are acting against national security and are trying to destroy the establishment are not the pure-hearted youth who are imprisoned these days with these charges and are resisting in prisons and under [harsh] interrogations and psychological and physical pressure.”
October 1, 2010 • 11:24p10 0
مهدی کروبی در مصاحبه اختصاصی با تغییر: بعد از رحلت امام، سرنوشت خبرگان زیر ساطور شورای نگهبان قرار گرفت / Karroubi responds to the harsh reactions over his letter to Rafsanjani in Tagheer interview
Following the harsh reactions of hardliners regarding Mehdi Karroubi’s letter to Ayatollah Hashemi-Rafsanjani (Chairman of the Assembly of Experts) and reminding him and the assembly of their true responsibilities to oversight the supreme leader in an interview with Tagheer website once again strongly criticized the lack of oversight on circles of power and government organizations.
Mehdi Karroubi in his letter to the chairman of the Assembly of Experts before the beginning of its session pointed out the responsibilities of the Assembly of Experts and stated: ‘The Assembly of Experts has been formed to choose, have oversight and also dismiss the supreme leader. But they (the ruling powers) are saying “don’t mention the clarity of the constitution; don’t even have minor reference to it’! While Imam [Khomeini] had advised the clerics of the Assembly of Experts: ‘Your responsibility is on top of all responsibilities; because the highest corruption which leads to the corruption of all organizations is the corruption of the supreme leader.’”
Mehdi Karroubi in this interview by pointing to the reasons of harsh reactions to his letter said: “The reason on why there have been such harsh reactions to a fully legal and rational letter should be found in the chaotic situation of country’s affairs. If the country had the necessary stability, all these heavy political and economical pressure would have not be imposed on the people and instead of creating tension on the international stage, professional diplomatic approach would have been used.”
Mehdi Karroubi added: “Such reactions happen in unusual societies under dictatorship as well as in restricted, silenced, self-censored and totalitarian environments not in a stable and firm society.”
The speaker of the third and sixth terms of the parliament by asking fundamental questions such as ‘Can the parliament which is elected by the people and has legislative and oversight roles, raise the issue of the president’s political incompetence?’ , stated: “ If the parliament attempts to start an independent matter and tries to launch an investigation, they (ruling powers) so harshly confront the parliament and say that no way ‘the parliament is on top of all affairs’ and Imam [Khomeini] said something (this quote) for his time.”
Mehdi Karroubi in an interview with Tagheer website said: “The Assembly of Experts is formed to chose a supreme leader and oversight his performance. It has been clearly stated in the law that in some cases the Assembly of Experts has the right to dismiss the supreme leader. For example if the supreme leader lacks the required qualifications, or because of old age say suffers from memory loss loses the qualifications for being the supreme leader, or the members of the Assembly of Experts find out that their choice was wrong from the beginning, in these cases the members of the Assembly of Experts have the right to dismiss and discharge the supreme leader [from his post].All these cases I mentioned are the clearly stated articles of the constitution. But they (hardliner ruling powers) say ‘don’t even mention the clearly stated laws of the constitution, don’t point out! Don’t even pronounce them!’ if this is the case then why the constitution was written at the first place?”
Mehdi Karroubi in answer to the question why the Assembly of Experts does not perform based on its responsibilities said: “Apparently the meanings and values have changed. Today we have reached a point that we don’t have any election but instead we have pseudo-elections! … Bravery has become crime and lies have become truth”
Mehdi Karroubi in his letter to the chairman of the Assembly of Experts, Ayatollah Hashemi-Rafsanjani, by stating the characteristics of the government which one of them was “its accountability toward the people” by referring to the constitution reminded the Assembly of Experts of its responsibilities.
Mehdi Karroubi in his letter and in describing the current Assembly of Experts stated that this Assembly hold meetings twice a year and their activities is mainly limited to “parsing” , “visiting late Ayatollah Khomeini’s tomb”, “meeting with the supreme leader to praise him” and issuing “cliché statements”.
This reformist figure also bluntly stated the issue of violation of people’s rights by the organizations under the supreme leader and urged the chairman of the Assembly of Experts to think of a “solution”.
September 30, 2010 • 11:24p09 0
حضرت آیت الله العظمی دستغیب :خبرگان فعلی از ماهیت خود بیرون رفته است / Ayatollah Dastgheib Criticizes Khamenei for Overstepping Powers as Supreme Leader
InsideIRAN.org – Ayatollah Ali-Mohammad Dastgheib, member of the Assembly of Experts and an outspoken critic of the government, issued a new theological verdict about Velayat Faqih, or rule of Islamic jurist, and stated that the current implications of this theory are contradictory to what the Iranian constitution had intended.
Ayatollah Dastgheib, in response to a question asked by one of his followers on his official website regarding Velayat Faqih, argues in five pages that the current theory of Absolute Velayat Faqih does not correspond to the interpretation of the concept, as it was determined by Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic and the most prominent intellectual father of the theory.
Dastgheib begins his long jurisprudential and technical response by first mentioning that he was one of Ayatollah Khomeini’s students and a number of other prominent seminaries of the time, thus establishing both his commitment to the theory of Velayat and his religious credentials as a legitimate source of opinion on this matter.
According to his website, Dastgheib.com, this senior cleric argues that “Absolute Velayat Faqih and Vali Faqih [the actual person who carries out the duties of Velayat] appointed by the Assembly of Experts are two different things that can at times take place and be observed in one person, such as Imam Khomeini”, implying that the current Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei lacks one of those properties. He then argues that the only duties of someone selected by the Assembly of Experts are “…to coordinate the efforts of the three branches of government and to prevent the violation of citizens’ rights by the three branches.” This bold claim means that the Supreme Leader’s powers are much more limited than is currently the case.
Dastgheib asserts, “This person of Vali Faqih has no right to interfere in the affairs of the people.” After the death of Ayatollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader was no longer required to be a Source of Emulation, which, according to Dastgheib, means that he no longer holds the legitimacy to become an Absolute Vali Faqih.
Ayatollah Dastgheib then criticizes the Assembly of Experts, which is responsible for the selection, termination, and supervision of the Supreme Leader, and says, “These gentlemen’s only duty is not to appoint or to approve of a leader; they are also responsible for solving the problems of their constituents.” He asserted, “It should not be the case that we [the Assembly] select a leader and must now be obedient [to the Leader].”
Ayatollah Dastgheib’s remarks against Velayat Faqih and Supreme Leader Khamenei are the harshest since the late Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri publicly questioned the legitimacy of Khamenei’s leadership two decades ago. As a member of the Assembly of Experts and a prominent cleric in Iran, Dastgheib’s remarks could encourage other dissatisfied senior clerics to come forward and express their grievances. It is expected that in the next few days Dastgheib’s office, mosque or both will be attacked by government supporters in a show of support for Khamenei.
September 19, 2010 • 11:24p09 0
نامه کروبی به هاشمی رفسنجانی در مورد نظارت بر رهبری / Karroubi sends letter to Rafsanjani reminding him of the Assembly of Experts responsibilities and duties
On the eve of the bi-annual meeting of the Assembly of Experts in Iran, headed by Ayatollah Rafsanjani, opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi has written a letter to Rafsanjani reminding the Assembly of it’s responsibilities to monitor not only the Supreme Leaders performance, but also the institutions and functions under the Supreme Leader.
In the letter he points out the increasing role of the Revolutionary Guard and Basij in political affairs, as well as their expansive role in economic matters. Karroubi also states “a lack of independence of the judiciary and courts.”
In a bold move, Karroubi points to the Assembly’s power to remove the rahbar (Supreme Leader) if he is incapable of carrying out his duties in a supervisory role, as written in the Constitution.
In the letter, dated September 13th, 2010, Mehdi Karroubi reiterated the responsibilities of the Supreme Leader under the Constitution, stating that the Assembly of Experts must prevent the destabilization of the Velayat-E-Faqih [Rule of the Jurisprudent] and the position and role of the Supreme Leader that have resulted from negligence in the performance of duties and the abuse of authority.
Karroubi’s letter states that “dozens of questions can be raised, including the lack of attention to people’s rights, inefficiency by the executive and judiciary branches of the government, and in particular the abuse of the general rights of citizens by the institutions under the auspices of the Supreme Leader.”
Mehdi Karroubi, a supporter of the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomeini and two times head of the Parliament when Khomeini was Supreme Leader, became an opposition candidate and joined the apposition movement after the controversial presidential elections last year. In this recent letter to the Head of the Assembly of Experts, Hashemi Rafsanjani, he repeatedly points to the responsibilities and powers of the Assembly of Experts, including the right to remove the Supreme Leader from his position. Karroubi also reiterated that in his opinion, the Assembly of Experts has not properly utilized the legal authorities afforded under Articles 107, 108 and 111 of the Constitution.
Article 107 of the Constitution describes the “responsibilities” of the Supreme Leader and others in accordance to the law. Article 108 describes the duties and powers of the Assembly of Experts, while Article 111 covers the rules related to the dismissal of the Supreme Leader. Article 111 states: “Whenever the Leader becomes incapable of fulfilling his constitutional duties, or loses one of the qualifications mentioned in Articles 5 and 109, or it becomes known that he did not possess some of the qualifications initially, he will be dismissed. The authority of determination in this matter is vested with the experts specified in Article 108.”
In his letter to Hashemi Rafsanjani Head of the Assembly of Experts, Mehdi Karroubi makes references to the “complete lack of independence of the judiciary, the show trials that were politically motivated and paraded in all government supporting media outlets, the complete and unconditional interference by the IRGC [Sepah] and Basiji in all political matters and their dominance and monopolization of all economic matters” as examples of the results of the activities of the institutions under the auspices of the Leadership.”
Karroubi also writes that the IRGC and Basiji played a role in the rigged elections and oppressing the rights of the nation of Iran, reiterating that the transfer of large economic projects to the IRGC and “eliminating public tenders” further strengthened the conditions for the existence of a monopoly and the military’s ability to personal monetary profits.
While reiterating his criticism of the performance by the existing government, Karroubi stated: “If the Assembly of Experts continues to neglect its responsibilities, ignoring the incompetence, imprudence, exaggerations, irreverence and impertinence of the current government, even if they eventually become aware of their mistake, it may unfortunately be too late.”
It is worth mentioning that reports published covering the last session of the Assembly of Experts in Iran do not make any references to the letter by Mr. Karroubi.
These meetings took place in Tehran on September 14th & 15th, 2010.
with special thanks to Banooye Sabz for English translation
September 17, 2010 • 11:24p09 0
Rafsanjani warns of dictatorship and urges all to abide by the law to prevent discord among the nation
Below is a summary of the opening remarks by the head of the Assembly of Experts Council in Iran, Ayatollah Rafsanjani as he opened the session on Tuesday. The Experts Council is a deliberative body of 86 Mujtahids (Islamic scholars) that is charged with electing and removing the Supreme Leader of Iran and supervising his activities. In his remarks, he warns of a current toward dictatorship and appeals to all leaders to abide by the law and prevent discord and disenfranchisement of the people.
The ratifications of the Majlis, the Guardian Council and the Expediency Council must be implemented, said Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani at the opening session of the Assembly of Experts on Tuesday.
Rafsanjani also said the Supreme Leader’s remarks about the implementation of Article 44 and the 20-Year Outlook Plan – which have been drawn up by the Expediency Council and endorsed by the Supreme Leader – must be regarded “above law”.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Rafsanjani said disrespect to law will lead to “dictatorship”.
“Disregard to law, means dictatorship,” said Rafsanjani who is both the chairman of the Expediency Council and the Assembly of Experts.
The former president went on to say that the current headstrong movements in the country are like a “poison”, urging all to abide by the law to prevent discord among the nation.
Rafsanjani also warned that some persons seek to deal a blow to the core of the Islamic system.
He said some misinterpret the Leader’s slogan of “maximum attraction and minimum alienation”, a reference to the stated policy of the Islamic Republic system to win the hearts and minds of people as much as possible and avoiding disenfranchise them to the extent possible.
Moreover, Rafsanjani cited Velayat-e-Faqih (rule of supreme jurisprudence) and clerics as main assets to the country that have to be highly valued.
Rafsanjani also warned officials not to consider sanctions against the country as a “joke”.
“During the years after the revolution, we have never had so many sanctions and I urge all officials to take them seriously and not as jokes,” he stated.
Ayatollah Rafsanjani expressed hope that Iran will “weather the storm of crisis” if it utilizes its potential in a proper way.
September 15, 2010 • 11:24p09 0
آیت الله دستغیب در اعتراض به روند حاکم بر مجلس خبرگان در این اجلاسیه حاضر نشد / Ayatollah Dastgheib does not attend Experts Assembly in protest
Grand Ayatollah Dastgheib, senior religious figure and representative of the people of Shiraz in the Assembly of Experts and critic of the government, in protest to the current trend and the performance of the Assembly of Experts did not attend the latest session of the assembly.
According to the constitution the Assembly of Experts is responsible for overseeing the performance of the supreme leader, dismissing the supreme leader at anytime if he does not meet the qualifications and choosing a new supreme leader.
During the holy month of Ramadan, Grand Ayatollah Dastgheib in his sermons which he delivered in the Ghoba mosque in the city of Shiraz repeatedly warned the authorities to come back to the people and stop the oppression and this intrigued the hardliners including the representative of the supreme leader in the Shiraz branch of the Revolutionary Guards to organize attacks by Basij militias and plain-clothes thugs on Qoba mosque.
In these attacks many worshippers were brutally injured and many have been arrested by the security forces while the attackers disgraced the sanctity of the mosque in the holy month of Ramadan in full safety.
Few days prior to the beginning of the latest session of the Assembly of Experts, Grand Ayatollah Dastgheib in an open letter to the fellow members of the assembly urged them to commit to their true responsibility and do their job properly and defend the rightful demands of the people as he was certain that just like the previous session of the assembly most of the members who themselves are the representatives of the supreme leader would prevent Grand Ayatollah Dastgheib to deliver his speech in the session and continue a campaign against him trying to question his qualifications and dismiss him from the membership of the assembly which he earned through people’s votes!
June 24, 2010 • 11:24p06 0
insideIran – The Iranian parliament passed a bill June 21 in which any changes to the constitution of Azad University, a network of private universities in Iran, must be approved by the so-called “Board of Founders,” and cannot be changed by the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution, which is chaired by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
This bill is significant because it prevents President Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei from taking over Iran’s most profitable educational system estimated by Kayhan, a hardline newspaper close to Khamenei, to possess assets worth up to 250 billion dollars.
Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani is the chairman of the Board of Founders and was the person behind the creation of private universities in Iran some 29 years ago. The current head of Azad University, Ahmad Jasbi, is considered a close ally of Rafsanjani. Jasbi is the longest serving executive in Iran for heading Azad University since its founding. Rafsanjani’s son, Mehdi Hashemi, is also a high-ranking executive of Azad University. The Iranian judiciary has issued an arrest warrant for Mehdi Hashemi, but he left Iran last summer before the warrant was issued in order to avoid prosecution.
The Supreme Council on the Cultural Revolution and President Ahmadinejad’s allies pursued a number of goals by seeking to take over Azad University. First, pro-government forces would have assumed control over a significant amount of money currently in the hands of Rafsanjani’s allies.
Second, by eliminating a major source of funding and removing Jasbi from his post, the hardliners would have moved one step closer to making Rafsanjani less relevant.
Third, Azad University operates campuses in the most remote corners of Iran, where public universities have traditionally failed to reach. Controlling this network of universities would have allowed hardliners to tighten their hold on Iran’s university campuses from where they have received stiff resistance and disobedience.
The parliamentary vote against the Supreme Council on Cultural Revolution and in favor of the Board of Founders is a victory for Rafsanjani. But this victory may not last long.
The parliament has come under enormous pressure by hardliners inside the government. In reaction to this bill, President Ahmadinejad canceled his meeting with Ali Larijani, the speaker of parliament, and Sadegh Larijani, Iran’s chief justice, Monday June 22. Supreme Leader Khamenei is also believed to be on the side of the government. Pro-government protestors have been demonstrating outside the parliament demanding the bill to be overturned.
The bill, if not overturned by the parliament in another vote, will go to the Guardian Council. The Guardians will most likely reject the bill, which will then go to the Expediency Council chaired by Rafsanjani.
May 17, 2010 • 11:24p05 0
Mehdi Karroubi met with groups of teachers, physicians, nurses and families of martyrs. At the beginning of this meeting representatives of different classes of society while criticizing and expressing concern over the current situation of the country raised some questions. Mehdi karroubi in response to these questions made some important remarks.
In this meeting Mehdi Karroub: “The great people of Iran fully supported the revolution in all aspects and have gone through many hardships and sufferings during these times. The great nation of Iran courageously resisted and made many sacrifices during the 8-year Iran-Iraq war and before Saddam Hossein’s dictatorship as well as in face of different sanctions and numerous terrorist attacks including the bombing of the office of the Prime Minister [in the early days of the revolution]; and the reason for all these sacrifices and braveries has been the love for their country and Islam and the two words of Islamic and Republic which was established by the very same people”
Mehdi Karroubi said: “Our system is based on people’s vote such that people elect their representatives to the Assembly of Experts to oversee the performance of the supreme leader; also people elect their representatives to the parliament to legislate laws and also have permanent oversight on the performance of their elected administration. So this is how people play an important role through direct and indirect elections and overseeing the performance of the officials in different ranks; and this is how the body of the Islamic Republic comes to life and become meaningful with the spirit of the people and their votes. However unfortunately today we witness the derailment of the train of Islamic Republic because some individuals are trying to eliminate the Republic and people’s role to stay in power.”
Karroubi said: “Unfortunately, we are witnessing a trend in pushing the pure religion of the prophet Mohammad and his descendants towards superstitions. Lies and deceptions were not enough for them that they are adding superstitions and fictions to the religion too … Unfortunately our system has reached a point that some thoughtless people, ignorant about this world and after-live, recklessly accuse others of being an enemy with God! We have just recently witnessed that in a strange and thoughtless act, a member of the Guardian Council (Gholam-Hossein Elham) called Mir Hossein Mousavi and his wife (Zahra Rahnavard) enemy with God!”
Karroubi then added: “They themselves know that we don’t want to over through the system and of course did not choose the path of reform just recently. You and I both have realized this correctly that the true democracy is not being implemented in the system! When the result of the election was already known on the morning of the Election Day and they started congratulating each other right then, for sure shows that they don’t respect and honour people’s vote.”
He said: “We say that the system must return to its main path (Both being an Islamic and Republic state), free and healthy elections must be held, there must be independent media and freedom of speech, different parties and groups must have the right to be active, various classes and groups of the people must be recognized and their rights must be respected and the constitution must be implemented correctly. Of course every law has flaws and shortcomings expect for the holy books, so the constitution is not some holy word and has some flaws too. Therefore the constitution, if necessary, must be changed according to present needs and to fulfill public benefit and national interest.”
Mehdi Karroubi in response to one of the questions about the situation of victims of the post-election events said: “I sincerely thank you for visiting and comforting the families of the victims. I also in my capacity have done and do whatever I can and I do consider following up on the situation of the prisoners and the families of the victims one of my duties.”
Mehdi Karroubi continued: “In order to follow up on the situation of the families of the victims and to comfort them, soon after the post-election events I had a meeting with Mir Hossein Mousavi to create a committee for follow-ups and he appointed the son of Martyr Beheshti and Mr. Rohollah Moghadam from the Assembly of Combatant Clergymen and I appointed Mr. Alviri and Dr. Amini and the committee was formed for this purpose, which unfortunately from this group of four, three were arrested. After that I did all I could and have been meeting with the families of the victims and prisoners of the recent events and I have also asked my representatives in other provinces to meet with the families of the victims in those provinces and see how they are doing.”
In continuation, one of the guests said to Karroubi that people are worried for his well-being and safety and added: “They issue heavy sentences, the social networks are also being more and more restricted every day, the independent press and those critical of the government have been shut down and not everyone has access to Internet, with all these, what is your plan for better informing and educating the people?”
Mehdi Karroubi responded: “Unfortunately, the issues you mentioned do exist. The pressure is extreme. My family and I are also under pressure like the rest of people and you know of what has happened to my family, like other families. To break people’s spirits the government had even started rumours that I have got a fatal disease but didn’t have any gain for them. These pressures intensify the situation but the nation is aware and is standing vigilantly in front of this suspicious movement. Some seek an opportunity to spread more violence in the society to survive; therefore we should pay more attention because we also have share in this revolution and the system. In this situation that they have taken all means of communication from us, have closed down parties, and have shut down newspapers, we must benefit from the cyberspace and also we should increase public awareness by face to face interactions.”
May 9, 2010 • 11:24p05 0
The terms of office for six members of the 12-member Guardian Council, including council chairman, Ayatollah Jannati and Gholam-Hossein Elham (two of the extreme hardliners), along with four other members will come to an end this July.
The Guardian Council is composed of six Islamic jurists who are directly appointed by the Supreme leader. It also consists of six lawyers who are elected by the parliament from among those nominated by the Judiciary chief, and ultimately approved by the Supreme Leader.
The Guardian Council is in charge of vetting election candidates for presidency, Parliament and the Assembly of Experts. Ensuring the compatibility of the legislation passed by Parliament with the criteria of Islam and the Constitution is among other duties of the council.
There is no meaningful change expected, especially in the leadership, as Ayatollah Jannati was appointed by Khomeini and is an extreme hardliner. He is a supporter of Ahmadinejad and is one of the main players in the planned purge of the reformers and their parties over the last decade.