Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani’s gorgeous sermon of July 17 had forced the regime in Tehran onto the defensive. He had made it clear that both aspects, the faith and the will of the people, are of importance if the utopia of an Islamic Republic wanted to come into reality:
“The title of Islamic Republic is not just a formality. This is a reality passed on to us on the basis of Koran, as well as the religious sayings of the (Shiite) Imams and prophet. We believe in them. We should have them at the same time. Rest assured if one of those two aspects [were] damaged we will loose our revolution. If it looses its Islamic aspect, we will go astray. If it looses its republican aspect, it (the Islamic Republic) will not be realized. Based on the reasons that I have offered, without people and their vote there would be no Islamic system.”
After that Rafsanjani has been suspended from Friday prayers at Tehran University. Members of his family have been threatened by the regime with prosecution, which might even be justified. His son Mehdi has left the country.
On the eve of 16 Azar, the notorious “Student Day” which commemorates the killing of three students in the aftermath of the CIA coup which chased Iran’s sole democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh from office in 1953, Rafsanjani has met today students in Mashhad. He reiterated what has now become a taboo in Iran:
“Some believe that there was fraud in the election and I said that I have concerns about the fraud, but then they criticized me that why did you even mention such a thing… . I am saying that these doubts and concerns should be resolved… . We have laws for everything, although some of these laws should be corrected, but if everyone accepts that these rules are obeyed then many problems could be solved… . Censorship in our society won’t be the answer and if we have free media and people are convinced, then they won’t take [their protest] to the streets… .”
In the meantime, accredited foreign journalists are more or less under house arrest and not supposed to report on the expected demonstrations and protests of the coming days. The internet is largely slowed down already and mobile phone connections will be cut on Monday. After painful experiences in the last couple of months, the regime isolates the country and entrenches itself.