A Blog Written By Roozbeh Mirebrahimi
By Roozbeh Mirebrahimi – Roozonline, 2007.08.05
The semi-official Fars news agency, which primarily reflects the views of Ahmadinejad’s administration, reported yesterday that former president Hashemi Rafsanjani is at the bottom of a list of candidates to replace the deceased chairman of the powerful Assembly of Experts (Majlis Khobregan), Ayatollah Ali Meshkini.
The news report placed Hashemi Rafsanjani’s name after those of Mohammad Yazdi, Ahmad Jannati, Ayatollah Mo’men and Hashemi Shahroudi as possible replacements for the vacant seat. This is interesting, given that Hashemi Rafsanjani currently serves as the Assembly’s vice president and enjoys a far heavier political weight and experience than others.
Hashemi Rafsanjani often makes critical remarks of the Ahmadinejad administration’s performance, usually followed by reactions from forces close to the administration.
In recent remarks addressing the government’s 20-year plan, Hashemi Rafsanjani, who also presides over the Expediency Council, said, “In the past two years, not only have we not gone forward, but have actually regressed in implementing the 20-year plan.” During a news conference last year, Rafsanjani, who competed against Ahmadinejad for the presidency in the summer of 2005, heavily criticized the administration’s performance, warning that time had “run out” for the administration. President Ahmadinejad did not leave Rafsanjani’s remarks unanswered.
During that news conference, Rafsanjani said, “After the new administration assumed power, in a meeting that we had with the Supreme Leader, we concluded that some of the budget proposals that were being submitted to the Majlis [“Parliament”] were contradicting the regime’s macro-principles. Nevertheless, we decided to allow some time for the new administration to actualize its slogans.”
He added, “In my opinion, plenty of time has been given [to the administration]. The [Expediency] Council must begin to take its oversight responsibilities more seriously.”
On that day Rafsanjani acknowledged that, with regards to “weaknesses” that the administration and Council of Guardians have, he “is respectful of them for not saying anything,” adding, “We choose not to say many things and not to bring up serious challenges in order to prevent rumors that we are politicking.”