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December 30, 2009

“If they do not accept you, you do not force them to — and you leave.”

Ali Rafiei/AFP

In July, much of the discussion revolved around the role Rafsanjani might play in a national reconciliation bid.  Since the violence this past weekend, editorial pages are abuzz about the possibility that the regime might soon topple, but few have taken the time to question how such monumental changes might actually occur within Iran’s political system.
A dear friend and colleague of ours has written in to discuss just that:

Today, after a meeting with the Majlis, Iran’s Prosecutor General said that “leaders of the sedition” should be prosecuted.  On top of their sedition list is Fa’ezeh Hashemi (Rafsanjani’s daughter), along with Karrubi and Mousavi.  Rafsanjani will be more likely to go against Khamenei’s approach if his daughter is prosecuted, jailed or killed (as Musavi’s nephew was Sunday).
On December 5 (the Shiite holiday Eid-e Ghadir), Rafsanjani delivered a speech that was strikingly similar to the one he gave on July 17th–only this time his disagreement with Khamenei was clearer.  Rafsanjani said that it is “impossible to rule society by suppressing it,” and that the Prophet Mohammad told Imam Ali that “if the people accept you, then you rule. If they do not accept you, you do not force them to and you leave.”
Several sources claim that powerful players like Iran’s Minister of Intelligence are getting ready to go after Rafsanjani himself. These players want Rafsanjani expelled as Chairman of the Expediency Council.
Even if his daughter’s being targeted for arrest won’t force Rafsanjani to choose sides and join the Green Movement, the hardliners might soon make the choice for him.

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