Rafsanjani Sermon Summarized

The USG Open Source Center summarizes Rafsanjani’s sermon on Friday. Full translation to follow.

FYI — Iran’s Rafsanjani Gives Tehran Friday Sermons
Corrected version; providing updated processing plans for full text in final para
Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran Radio 1
Friday, July 17, 2009
Document Type: OSC Summary

Tehran Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran Radio 1 in Persian at 0830 GMT on 17 July broadcast live Friday prayers from Tehran University, given by Ayatollah Akbar Rafsanjani, head of the Expediency Council.

Rafsanjani had been absent for the past eight weeks from the prayer scene. He dedicated the first part of his sermon to religious issues.

At 0902 GMT, an indistinct noise, that can only be described as shouts by a sizeable crowd of people, was heard in the background. This came to an abrupt end a few seconds later.

The first part of the sermon came to an end with Rafsanjani pleading that the Revolution, achieved by the blood of so many “martyrs,” must be revered and not wasted.

The sermon came to an end at 0920 GMT, and was followed immediately by the second.
He started the second sermon by the customary remembrances in the Islamic calendar, notably for seventh Shiite Imam Musa-Ibn-Ja’far.

He also talked about the killings in China, urging the government there: “We give brotherly advice” to stop the killing of Muslims. At this juncture, people started chanting slogans, and Rafsanjani had to plea for calm.

He then went onto talk about the election, saying that it started very well. He praised the participation of the people. He said that it was the people who have to be thanked for this level of participation.

He lamented the post-election events, and talked about his contribution to the Islamic Revolution and his companionship with Imam Khomeyni, who had urged people not to take up arms.

He added that after 20 years, the people were awakened, and they turned up on the streets to protest against the Pahlavi regime.

He went on to add that Imam Khomeyni accorded great value to the participation of the people. He read out a note that he had prepared earlier, quoting Shiite Imam Ali.

He stressed Imam Khomeyni’s insistence on the people’s role at the beginning of the Revolution. He insisted that according to the Constitution of the Islamic Republic, the vote of the people, including the leadership, is determined by the people.

Again huge chants were heard at 0935 GMT, when Rafsanjani insisted that he had been asked to keep his sermon short. In what can only be described as Rafsanjani speaking hurriedly, he insisted on the republicanism of the system.

He went on to add that when campaigning came to an end, a great lack of trust came about. He said that this may have been due to the bad performance of the state broadcaster, calling it a very bitter experience. He insisted that everyone was damaged by the post-election events.

He urged unity and cohesion by all factions and parties, saying that “all of us must find a way to advance our country in a united way.”

He made a few suggestions as a way forward; he said that Iran must restore the lost confidence of the people. He added that all of Iran, including the Majles, the police, and the people, must act within the law.

The second suggestion was that: “We must create an atmosphere in which all sides can come and express their views. And all sides must act rationally and without argument. Of course, the main task here falls on the Voice and Vision (of the Islamic Republic, meaning state broadcaster), as it has greater listeners. And all other media outlets must do the same.”

He went on to point to the results of the Guardian Council recount of the disputed vote, adding: “Unfortunately, good use was not made of the opportunity that the Supreme Leader (Ali Khamene’i) gave the Guardian Council, in which an extra five days was given to them.”

Interrupted again by crowds chanting, he added: “I do not of course want to blame anyone for this lost opportunity.”

He then went on to say that those who are in prison must be released: “Under current circumstances, there is no need for us to have people in prisons. Allow them to return to their families.”

(Chanting of indistinct slogans from the masses in support of the clerics comment were heard)

“Let’s not allow our enemies to reprimand and laugh at us, and hatch plots against us, just because a few certain people are in prison. We should be brave and patient enough to tolerate one another. Sympathy should be shown to the victims of the recent incidents which took place. We should offer condolences to those who mourn, and bring their hearts closer to the establishment.”

The sermons came to an end at 0948 GMT.

(Description of Source: Tehran Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran Radio 1 in Persian — state-run radio)

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