July 17, 2009

Rafsanjani’s speech

Hashemi Rafsanjani gave his much anticipated Friday sermon today. The LA Times gives a good overview:

Tens of thousands of supporters of Mousavi crammed into downtown Tehran early this afternoon, some with emblematic green ribbons wrapped around their fingers, to attend the sermon by Rafsanjani that could herald a new stage in the political drama that has followed the marred June 12 reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
“We could have taken our best step in the history of the Islamic revolution had the election not faced problems,” he told worshipers. “We are in doubt today. Today, we are living bitter conditions due to what happened after the announcement of the election result. All of us have suffered. We need unity more than anytime else.”
Although he raised some of the issues of concern to Mousavi supporters and urged Iran’s leaders to heed public demands, he offered no concrete solutions for resolving the nation’s worst political crisis in decades, other than to debate peacefully.
The speech suggested the political unrest unleashed by the vote would continue. As his speech drew to a close, clashes broke out between Mousavi supporters and security forces, witnesses said. Police shot tear gas at demonstrators chanting “Coup d’etat government, resign, resign!” and a helicopter could be seen hovering above, witnesses said.

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