Monday, August 25, 2008

Conservatists Peak Their Battles

Counter Punches by Allies of Rafsanjani and Ahmadinejad
With the express public criticism of the administration by the head of the State ‎Expediency Council and also Experts Assembly on Leadership Hashemi Rafsanjani, and ‎follow-ups by his allies - which are now expressed without any “consideration” - the ‎state-run media have launched an intense counter attack against the two time president. ‎Sensing the battle to be getting out of control, the administration spokesperson asked ‎Rafsanjani to be friendlier towards Ahmadinejad’s government. ‎
Gholam-Hossein Elham, the administration’s spokesperson and who is also the ‎spokesperson for Iran’s judiciary sent a note to Hemat weekly magazine, which had ‎previously criticized Rafsanjani, in which he aired disapproval of the 2-time former ‎president and Majlis speaker. “Mr. Hashemi has made an interesting confession which is ‎that his look at Mr. Ahmadinejad’s government is that of an enemy’s, towards which he ‎has temporarily chosen to be “patient,” Elham writes.‎
The same note was also published this Sunday in Iran newspaper, the government’s ‎official outlet. This article said Rafsanjani’s attitude and words were worth reviewing and ‎asks the influential cleric, “Is it not better to be friendly rather than patient?”‎
Even though the differences that have been aired between Rafsanjani and Ahmadinejad ‎go back to the 2005 presidential elections that catapulted Ahmadinejad to the presidency, ‎Rafsanjani’s recent attacks have resulted in stronger counter-attacks by the president and ‎his allies. Two weeks ago while talking to businessmen and economists in Mashhad, ‎Rafsanjani said that the time for being patient with the ninth administration had passed. ‎‎“For three years we have been patient regarding the policies implementation of article 44 ‎of the constitution. When the ninth administration began its work, the esteemed supreme ‎leader had asked that we be patient with it for a period. We can now say that this period ‎has now ended,” Rafsanjani said. [Article 44 of Iran’s constitution identifies the ‎economic activities that the public, private and cooperative sectors shall engage in. Mr. ‎Rafsanjani has asserted that the government had not been observing this division as ‎required.]‎
These remarks brought about sharp and immediate rebuttals by Iran and Keyhan ‎newspapers (both run by editors appointed by the leader of the Islamic regime or the ‎administration), which called the move an “elections propaganda”. Iran’s next ‎presidential elections are scheduled for next year.‎
In related news, Mohammad Reza Bahonar, the deputy Majlis speaker leaned to support ‎Rafsanjani in his remarks and said, “Hashemi has criticized the current administration for ‎forgetting the fourth development plan, the 20-year plan, and the absence of economic ‎policies, some of which we support.”‎
General seyed Hassan Firuzabadi, the chairman of Iran’s chiefs of staff also called for a ‎review of the administration’s policies during the “Government Week” and stressed, ‎‎“Review does not mean just looking at the good things and being appreciative. During ‎the Government Week, if deviations and weaknesses exist among state authorities or the ‎government’s allies they too must be reviewed, and the public-serving government must ‎take these into consideration.”‎
But the strongest support for Hashemi Rafsanjani came from Masih Mohajerani, the ‎managing editor of Jomhurie Eslami newspaper. He writes, “Those who believe that Mr. ‎Rafsanjani’s criticism of the government is not valid, should present their views with ‎logic rather than pouncing back or being disrespectful to him. For example, they should ‎provide their reasons to show that the administration has not deviated from the 20-year ‎plan, that the government has been observing article 44 of the constitution and has not ‎taken over all industries, that the price of chicken has not risen from 1,400 Toman to ‎‎3,000 Toman (a two-fold increase), the price of meat has not rise from 5,000 Toman to ‎‎10,000 Toman (a two-fold increase), rice has not risen from 1,000 Toman to 4,000 ‎Toman (a four-fold increase), the price of housing has not gone up 8-fold, the price of ‎detergent has not gone up from 350 Toman to 900 Toman, that we do not have blackouts, ‎or long gasoline lines, that there is no shortage of gas, etc.” [The exchange rate for a US ‎Dollar is about 800 Toman.]‎
In response to this, the government’s official newspaper Iran wrote, “It is noteworthy that ‎the managing editor of the newspaper [Jomhurie Eslami] who held various positions in ‎previous administrations, has been benefitting from being an advisor to the current ‎administration without being cooperative or active in it, and has received 14 million Rials ‎‎(approximately $1,750) per month as a senior advisor to the president until just recently.”‎
ShahabNews, a news website critical of the administration, wrote yesterday that Iran ‎newspaper’s article was a revengeful piece against the supporters of Hashemi Rafsanjani ‎and wrote, “Naturally Iran newspaper did not explain in its published article, if the story ‎‎[about Mohajerani] is true, that Mr. Mohajerani’s salary will now be stopped for ‎supporting Hashemi and is for writing a few critical pieces of the administration.”‎

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