Rafsanjani Raises Hopes for a Compromise in Iran
TIME / Jason Rezaian

In the ongoing tumult of Iranian politics, Ayatullah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has made few public pronouncements — even though he is said to be the main guiding force behind the scenes for those in the regime who are opposed to the country's Supreme Leader, Ayatullah Ali Khamenei, and President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. But on Tuesday, Rafsanjani, looking fatigued and thinner than in recent months, made a rare semi-public speech, covered in part by Iran's official television news. Ostensibly, he called for harmony and promoted unity — notions that probably do not sit well with the activist elements of the protest movement that has shaken Iran since the controversial re-election of Ahmadinejad last June. But Rafsanjani also pointed out the divisions within the society and the need to not only acknowledge but compromise on some of those differences — an idea that his conservative compatriots in the theocracy are loath to consider.

Rafsanjani spoke at the semi-annual meeting of the Assembly of Experts, which he heads. The group, an elected body comprised of 86 clerics, most of them well into senior citizenship, is tasked with, among other things, overseeing the actions of the Supreme Leader, though it has never used that power. Referring to the post-election turmoil, Rafsanjani took no clear sides but made a rare acknowledgment of wrongdoing by regime forces, stating that "unfortunate incidents occurred that were unprecedented in our country, and these incidents... >>>

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