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memri
July 21, 2009 No.
2451

Rafsanjani In Iran Friday Sermon: 'Today, We Need Unity More Than Ever'

Four weeks after Iran's presidential election, Iranian Expediency Council chairman and former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani called for national unity and enumerated ways to overcome the current crisis. Addressing worshipers in the main Tehran Friday sermon, he stressed that Iranians must remain united to safeguard the Islamic Revolution. During the sermon, security forces dispersed, with batons, pro-Mousavi crowds that gathered outside the university.

Following are the main points of his sermon. [1]

"Do Not Chant Slogans - You Know What Special Conditions Prevail in the Streets Near the University"

Rafsanjani began his second sermon: "I want to talk about the death of the Chinese citizens recently." Telling the crowd, which began chanting "Azadi... Azadi [i.e. "freedom"], "Do not chant slogans - you know what special conditions prevail in the streets near Tehran University. I ask you not to chant slogans," he continued: "The government of China has quelled the protests... We consider China a wise country; we would like to give them brotherly advice... China should pay attention to its relations with the Islamic countries, and, Allah willing, soon we will no longer see the repression of Muslims in China and in other countries. Another issue is Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, in which there are also bloodshed and corruption."

Turning to the issue of the elections, he said: "The [Iranian] presidential election, that took place [recently] - We began well, and the oversight went well, the four [candidates] who ran... People became hopeful about the elections. We should have been proud of this election, because people turned out to vote in large numbers. We should thank them for taking part in the election in such huge numbers... However, what happened after the election was not what we would have wished...

"What does the revolution want? You are listening to someone who has been with the revolution in its every moment... You know what the Imam Khomeini wanted... He always said that without the participation of the people, the Islamic government would never be successful. The role that the Imam gave the people was very high.... everything depended upon the people’s vote.... people should directly elect the president, the parliament, the local council...

"This is a religious government, a theocratic republic... If the government is not Islamic, then we are heading nowhere. If it is not a republic, then it amounts to nothing. The elections that took place... There were people who created false propaganda, a large number of people became suspicious [about the results]. We need to clear their suspicions...."

"Today, We Need Unity More Than Ever"

"Today, we need unity more than ever. Our country needs to be united against this danger... My brothers, my sisters - My view is this: We should all think together so our country can remain united against this danger that is facing us. Our enemies are trying to destroy our unity...

"I have several proposals for this...: The most important thing that has happened is that the trust that brought the people to vote in such large numbers is not there anymore. We need to restore this trust... The government, the parliament, the Islamic courts, and the security forces all need to act in the framework of the law. All problems can be solved if we only follow the framework of the law...

"We need to create an environment where all sides can come together and discuss their issues. We need to be able to sit down like brothers and sisters and talk about our differences... Unfortunately, the chance that was given to the Guardian Council [to recount the votes] to get people together and regain their trust was not used properly..."

"For Preserving the Values of the Revolution... We Must Release [the Prisoners]... We Are All One Family"

"But this passed, and I think that for the future, for unity, for preserving the values of the revolution... we must do the following:

"We must not imprison people; we must release them and send them back to their families. We cannot let our enemies laugh at us because we’ve imprisoned our own people...

"We should sit together with mourners and console them, and bring them back closer to the regime. We should be patient now...

"We must not censor media outlets that have legally obtained permits. Let them do what they want to do legally...We should allow a peaceful and friendly environment to prosper.

"I believe that the senior officials... the security forces, and the regime... we are all one family, and we are all on the path of the [Islamic] Revolution... We have all spent years in suffering. We’ve all given martyrs for the cause of the revolution. This unity needs to be cultivated.

"I am hopeful that we will be able to achieve this unity in the future, and I am hopeful that we will get out of this situation."

Endnote:

[1] ISNA (Iran), July 17, 2009.