Rafsanjani Shows His Cards
It seemed that Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was cutting bait. A member of the establishment, he was not willing to stick his neck out for the reformers, and seeing the crackdown in Iran, was content to work inside the system rather than openly commit to revolution. And then...
Reporting from Beirut -- A day after commanders of the Revolutionary Guard warned there was no middle ground in the dispute over the reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the political party of one of Iran's most powerful clerics Monday defiantly issued a statement dismissing the vote.
The statement by the Kargozaran Sazandegi, or Executives of Construction Party, all but cleared away weeks of ambiguity about the stance of the powerful cleric Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
The cleric, who heads two government councils that oversee the supreme leader and mediate disputes between branches, openly backed Mir-Hossein Mousavi. But he has not spoken definitively about the election since the June 12 vote, which was validated after a partial recount by the powerful Guardian Council.
"We declare that the result is unacceptable due to the unhealthy voting process, massive electoral fraud and the siding of the majority of the Guardian Council with a specific candidate," said the statement issued by the party.
That's a major statement of support, unprecedented from Rafsanjani since the election. It shows that the reform movement will not go away and doesn't mind a bit of boldness.
Opposition leaders are seeking the release of all political prisoners. Ali Khamenei is retrenching and blaming outside enemies. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will head to television tonight with a national address. There are large demonstrations scheduled Thursday.
This isn't over.