Archive for the ‘Iranian Threats’ category

Iran’s Threats Louder after Obama Appeasement

November 10, 2016

Iran’s Threats Louder after Obama Appeasement, Gatestone InstituteMajid Rafizadeh, November 10, 2016

Chants of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” were heard across Iranian cities as thousands of Iranians marked the anniversary of the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and the taking of 52 American hostages for 444 days by militant students.

The State Department’s reaction is classic: ignoring these developments and continuing with appeasement policies.<

These anti-American demonstrations are not rhetoric, but are the cornerstone of Iran’s revolutionary principles and foreign policies, which manifest themselves in Iran’s support for terrorist proxies, support for Assad’s regime, and the scuttling of US and Israeli foreign policies in the region.

Many other Iranian officials who were engaged in attacks against the US currently serve in high positions. Hossein Salami, who enjoys one of these high-level positions, is the deputy commander in chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. He stated at the rally: “America should know that if they do not honor their agreement in the nuclear deal, we will resume uranium enrichment…”

 

After eight years of President Barack Obama’s policies of appeasement, Iran’s threats, such as “Death to America,” and “Death to Israel,” have grown even louder.

This week, the Iranian government orchestrated one the largest anti-American and anti-Israeli demonstrations, since 1979, echoing Iran Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s recent messages.

The government provided facilities for the protesters. Chants of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” were heard across Iranian cities as thousands of Iranians marked the anniversary of the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and the taking of 52 American hostages for 444 days by militant students.

According to the Tehran-based bureau of the Los Angeles Times,

“The demonstrators brought by buses to the former embassy complex included young and old, university students, military staff and employees of state-run companies who voiced opposition to the nuclear deal Iran signed with the United States and world powers… Many echoed Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei…. Almost 1 in every 10 demonstrators at the former embassy — now widely dubbed a “den of espionage” — carried placards with Khamenei’s words: ‘We do not trust America.'”

2034Iranians protest outside the former US embassy in Tehran, on the anniversary of its storming by student protesters in 1979. (Image source: AFP video screenshot)

The chants were accompanied by burning American and Israeli flags, and Stars of David. This all is occurring in a country that is presided over by the so-called “moderate” president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani and his foreign minister, Javad Zarif; both continue to argue that Iran is a constructive state actor, does not hold hostility against any country, and that Tehran is looking to improve ties with the West and the international community — so long as Iran’s objectives are met.

The State Department’s reaction is classic: ignoring these developments and continuing with appeasement policies. State Department spokesman Mark Toner stated that the White House is not going to change its policies towards Iran:

“Like any country, there’s heated political rhetoric that comes out, and I’m just not going to respond to every instance of that in this case. No one likes to see this kind of hyper-charged rhetoric on the part of any government anywhere, and anti-American sentiments expressed. But again, we’re not going to base our whole relationship going forward … on these kind of heated political remarks.”

However, these large-scale anti-American demonstrations are not rhetoric, but are the cornerstone of Iran’s revolutionary principles and foreign policies, which manifest themselves in Iran’s support for terrorist proxies, support for Assad’s regime, and the scuttling of US and Israeli foreign policies in the region.

In fact, alleging crimes against the US plays very well within the political establishment of Iran. For example, one of the hostage takers who occupied the US embassy, Masoumeh Ebtekar, has climbed the political ladder remarkably. She was first the editor-in-chief of Keyhan International, an Iranian state-owned newspaper, and close advisor to the Supreme Leader. Later she was appointed as the head of the Environment Protection Organization of Iran during the “reformist” administration of President Mohammad Khatami. Afterwards the “moderate” President Rouhani appointed her as the Vice President of Iran, the first woman to serve such position.

The Agence France-Presse (AFP) news agency scored an interview with her during the “Death to America” rally. She boasted about taking US hostages and US documents from the embassy: “Revealing these documents was very similar to what WikiLeaks is doing these days. It was the WikiLeaks of that time.” According to the AFP,

“She now regrets the diplomatic isolation that followed the embassy siege, but she is still proud of their work in releasing documents found in the CIA’s files — some painstakingly reassembled after embassy staff frantically shredded as many as possible when the students stormed the building.”

Many other Iranian officials who were engaged in attacks against the US currently serve in high positions.

Hossein Salami, who enjoys one of these high-level positions, is the deputy commander in chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). He stated at the rally, in reference to the role of the IRGC in the bombing of the U.S. Marines barracks in Lebanon, “In 1983, the flames of Islamic revolution flared among Lebanese youth for the first time, and in a courageous act, a young Muslim buried 260 United States Marines under the rebels east of Mediterranean Sea.”

Last week, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reasserted his stance against the US more firmly, saying, “The US system is far away from values of humanity, death to America means death to a system which has nothing to do with humanitarian values.” Khamenei also dismissed diplomacy with the United States, arguing that these negotiations “will not resolve our problems… We should resolve the problems ourselves and with reliance on our capabilities and the young forces inside the country.”

Iran’s anti-American policies are buttressed and supported by Iran’s powerful military institutions, domestic militia groups such as the Basij, Iran’s proxies such as Hezbollah, and the hundreds of thousands of people who join these kinds of “Death to America” demonstrations. Iranian leaders evidently enjoy powerful loyalist employees and supporters.

As a passionate protestor told the Euronews, “We are here to chant slogans, and our slogans are a strong punch in the face of America. America can never touch our country, and as our leader said, America can’t do a damn thing.”

In addition, Hossain Salami, the acting commander of the IRGC, pointed out at the rally that: “America should know that if they do not honor their agreement in the nuclear deal, we will resume uranium enrichment and send the agreement … to the museum.”

Accordingly, “crowds chanted support for the Syrian government and other Shiite Muslim-led regimes in the Middle East, saying, “We will never give it up.”

For eight years, Washington pursued total appeasement policies with Iran. The four rounds of crippling UN Security Council sanctions, which took decades to put in place, were lifted immediately. Iran’s ballistic missile ambitions and test firings of missiles, in violation of the UN resolutions, were ignored. The expanding militaristic role of the Revolutionary Guard was taken lightly.

None of these appeasement policies changed the political calculations of Iranian leaders towards the US and Israel. In fact, based on these developments, Iranian leaders became more emboldened and empowered, to the extent that they repeatedly harass naval ships of the world’s superpower without fearing any repercussions. Iran uses its proxies to attack US ships.

“Death to America” and Iran’s anti-American policies will not change if the US continues to appease Iranian leaders. For Iran, appeasement policies do not mean diplomatic initiatives; concessions mean only weakness.

We Will Assassinate Enemies of the Republic Abroad: Iran

November 2, 2016

We Will Assassinate Enemies of the Republic Abroad: Iran, Clarion Project, November 2, 2016

iran-basij-hooded-men-ip_4Members of Iran’s volunteer paramilitary organization Basij (Photo: © Reuters)

Salami accused those who oppose the Iranian regime of being the agents of countries of the region (i.e. Saudi Arabia) and Israel, saying “enemies are seeking to overthrow the system and we have to defeat the enemy using the ‘great jihad’ to confront and fight the infidels.”

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Speaking at a ceremony in Nahavand Mosalla, Salar Abnoush, vice coordinator of the Islamic Republic Guards Corps (IRGC), declared that “soon the IRGC will be formed in Europe and the United States.”

“The Islamic Republic Guards Corps in various cultural, construction fronts have brought the enemy to their knees” the Times of IsraelPersian language edition quotes Abnoush as saying. “This includes the construction of the world’s largest refinery and construction of the world’s largest tunnels – both are a big successes. So all the world must know that soon Revolutionary Guards forces will be formed in the U.S. and Europe.”

The declaration was echoed by Brigadier General Hossein Salami, Iran’s deputy commander of IRGC said, while speaking at a government ceremony in Urmia. Addressing his comments specifically to members of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran, Salami said, “They should not try us again twice because our armed forces proved [they were capable of] this for years, and the enemy suffered heavy losses by the children of this umma (Islamic nation) outside of Iran.”

Salami accused those who oppose the Iranian regime of being the agents of countries of the region (i.e. Saudi Arabia) and Israel, saying “enemies are seeking to overthrow the system and we have to defeat the enemy using the ‘great jihad’ to confront and fight the infidels.”

In reporting Salami’s comments, Iran Global notes that more than 300 members and officials of Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran were assassinated outside of Iran by Iran’s special Intelligence teams within a few years after Iran -Iraq war ended. Two leaders of Kurdish Democratic Party, Dr. Abdol Rahman Ghassemlou and Sadegh Sharafkandi, along with other members and officials of the party, were killed by the Iranian regime in Austria and Germany.

Although Iran later pledged to the European Union it would stop the assassinations of Iranian dissidents in Europe, the news agency notes that history has shown that in order to achieve its goals, the Islamic Republic often does not abide by its international obligations.

According to Tasnim News Agency, Salami declared, “Not long ago, a few mercenaries with provoking from a few regional counties and with the support of the United States and the Zionists tried to re-challenge the Islamic Republic of Iran again, but everyone saw the very strong response of our defenders and how they all were killed by our forces.

“We warn the enemies of Islamic Republic of Iran: Do not make this mistake again as the revolutionary forces will chase them and kill them anywhere in the world. For chasing our enemies, we do not have any limit or red line and our armed forces have proved this in the last few years.”

Iranian Official: ‘If America Wants To Try Its Luck Against Us, [It Should Know That] We Are Completely Capable Of Mobilizing 9 Million Fighters… In Under 10 Days’; ‘We Have Warehouses Full [Of Missiles]… That Can Hit Tel Aviv’

October 3, 2016

Iranian Official: ‘If America Wants To Try Its Luck Against Us, [It Should Know That] We Are Completely Capable Of Mobilizing 9 Million Fighters… In Under 10 Days’; ‘We Have Warehouses Full [Of Missiles]… That Can Hit Tel Aviv’ MEMRI, October 2, 2016

In a September 25, 2016 speech to a Tehran political circle, Mohsen Rafighdoost, who was minister of the Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War and who heads the Noor Foundation,[1] said that the secret of the victory of Iran’s Islamic Revolution was Iranians’ total obedience to the leader. He said that today the IRGC ground forces are “five times better” than the U.S. Army, and that the Iranian regime is capable of deploying nine million troops against it in less than 10 days.

Rafighdoost added that Iran’s missiles in Tehran and the northwest of the country can reach Tel Aviv, and expressed his yearning for Israel to launch a missile at Iran so that Iran could “flatten Tel Aviv.” He also said that Islamic Revolution founder Ayatollah Khomeini established Hizbullah in Lebanon to promote the Islamization of other countries,[2] and that today, in the era of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, the organization has become “a supreme force in the region.”

30165Mohsen Rafighdoost. Source: Wilayah.info, January 27, 2014.

Following are his September 25 statements:

“The IRGC’s Ground Forces Are Perhaps Five Times Better Than The American Army”

“The factor that led to our victory in the [Iran-Iraq] War is [the same] factor that led to our victory in the [Islamic] Revolution. The Imam [Khomeini], in France, would order a parade [to be held in Iran], and the people would hold a parade, even in remote villages.

“During the eight years of the imposed war, not only was not one inch of Iranian land surrendered to the enemy, but we also acquired deterrent capability. I believe that as long as the Islamic Revolution stands against the Western and Eastern camps, we will be under military sanctions. We must never think that the world will provide us with military aid. Thanks to the war and its martyrs, Iran currently has deterrent capability. After a while, the Imam [Khomeini] replaced the call of ‘war, war to victory’ with ‘war, war until the fitna is removed.’ At the time, we understood this call as meaning that ‘we must be so strong that the enemy will not even think of a military strike against Iran.’

“Today, Iran has deterrent capability. In recent years, the enemies have spoken of the option [of a military strike against Iran] as being on the table, but that was a lie. [Our] air force and navy are good, but it is [our] ground forces that finish the war. The IRGC’s ground forces are perhaps five times better than the American army.

“Despite all the enemy media and cultural propaganda against us, if America wants to try its luck against us, [it should know that] we are completely capable of mobilizing nine million fighters [against it]… on the [battle]front in under 10 days.”

“If Only A Single [Israeli] Shell Would Strike Anywhere In This Country – So That We Can Flatten Tel Aviv”

“We have warehouses full [of missiles] in Tehran, Zanjan [in northwest Iran] and Oshnavieh [in Western Azerbaijan Province in northwest Iran] that can strike Tel Aviv. If only a single [Israeli] shell would strike anywhere in this country, so that we can flatten Tel Aviv.”

In Khamenei’s Era, Hizbullah “Has Become A Supreme Force In The Region”

“In accordance with his secondary plan, the Imam [Khomeini] created Hizbullah in Lebanon. This plan was [aimed at] Islamizing other countries. Today, in the era of the Leader [Khamenei, Hizbullah] has become a supreme force in the region.

“Despite all the criminal [plots], Iranian security forces grow stronger every day. Some of the statements being put out there are made out of lack of awareness, and anyone who makes them is ignorant.[3]

“The secret to victory lies in wise and complete obedience to the leader [Khamenei]. During the time of the Imam [Khomeini], we obeyed him, and today we obey the leader [Khamenei].”[4]

 

Endnotes:

 

[1] Since 1999, Mohsen Rafighdoost has been director of the Noor Foundation, which reportedly owns significant real estate and has revenues of over $200 million from importing pharmaceuticals, sugar and construction materials.

[2] During the 1980s, Rafighdhoost was involved in the creation of Hizbullah in Lebanon and likely had knowledge of its terror activities in Beirut.

[3] A reference to Hashemi Rafsanjani’s August 20, 2016 call for investing in Iran’s economy instead of in its the military, as Japan and Germany did post-World War II. MEMRI is soon publishing a report on Rafsanjani’s statements and reactions to them.

[4] Khabaronline.ir, September 25, 2016.

Ralph Peters: Cash payments to Iran were a bribe to save Obama’s nuclear deal

September 7, 2016

Ralph Peters: Cash payments to Iran were a bribe to save Obama’s nuclear deal, Washington Free Beacon via YouTube, September 7, 2016

Iran: Anti-American Propaganda

September 1, 2016

Iran: Anti-American Propaganda, MEMRI-TV via YouTube

(H/t LS for the video link. — DM)

Salami on Qods Day: Over 100,000 Missiles in Lebanon Alone Are Ready to Annihilate Israel

July 3, 2016

Salami on Qods Day: Over 100,000 Missiles in Lebanon Alone Are Ready to Annihilate Israel, MEMRI-TV via YouTube, July 3, 2016

The blurb beneath the video states,

Speaking at a sermon in Tehran prior to the Friday prayers marking Qods Day, IRGC Deputy Commander Hossein Salami said that the ground is ready today for the annihilation of the Zionist regime, elaborating that over 100,000 missiles were waiting in Lebanon alone and that tens of thousands of other missiles were placed throughout the Muslim world in order to wipe “the accursed black dot” from the map of the world. Salami also threatened Kurdish leaders in northern Iraq to keep their promises, saying that Iran would “completely destroy any place that constitutes a threat to our regime.”

Escalation In Political – And Perhaps Also Physical – Threats To Iranian Expediency Council Head Rafsanjani

June 8, 2016

Escalation In Political – And Perhaps Also Physical – Threats To Iranian Expediency Council Head Rafsanjani, MEMRI, June 8, 2016

In recent weeks, Iran’s ideological camp has stepped up its threats against pragmatic camp leader and Expediency Council chairman Hashemi Rafsanjani. The threats have included calls for prosecuting him – as it is, relatives of his are frequently imprisoned – and for defining him as a deviant, a traitor, and an accessory to, and torch-bearer today of, what the ideological camp terms “the 2009 fitna,” that is, the civil unrest following the presidential elections. It will be recalled that the leaders of this movement – former prime minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi and his wife, and former Majlis speaker Mehdi Karroubi – have been under house arrest since 2011.

When discussing Rafsanjani, ideological camp members’ statements are harsh, even violent.[1] This tone attests to the escalation in the regime’s antipathy towards the man considered to be the leader of the move towards openness vis-à-vis the U.S. and the West, which brought about the JCPOA – in contrast to the position of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who considers the U.S. to be an enemy that Iran must not come to terms with it. It should be mentioned that the ideological camp considers the JCPOA a tool used by the pragmatic camp and by the U.S. to remove it from power.

Rafsanjani is perceived by the ideological camp as an existential threat to its regime and as constantly undermining the foundation of its control of the country’s institutions.[2] The current struggle between the ideological and pragmatic camps, and particularly the personal struggle between these camps’ respective leaders, has been ongoing for at least three years, and is currently at a high point (see MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 1137, The Power Struggle Between Khamenei And His Camp And Rafsanjani And His Camp – Part XIV, January 21, 2015, and MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 5794, The Rafsanjani-Khamenei Struggle Escalates Into Open, Direct Confrontation, July 13, 2014).

Recently, Rafsanjani’s daughter Faezeh Hashemi was photographed meeting with a Baha’i activist with whom she had previously shared a prison cell. The meeting between the two women prompted the ideological camp to take immediate legal measures against Rafsanjani himself. The regime considers Bahaism to be a deviant and illegitimate cult, and its practitioners are persecuted and are denied civil and religious rights. It also considers Baha’is to be collaborators with Israel and the U.S. Although Rafsanjani distanced himself from his daughter’s actions, the ideological camp still considers them valid proof of his own treason.[3]

Due to the tremendous pressure on him, and the threats against him,[4] it appears that Rafsanjani had to relinquish his candidacy for head of the Assembly of Experts, even though he won the general elections for the assembly in February 2016.[5]

Even after his rival, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, was chosen to head the assembly, the attacks on Rafsanjani did not stop. The Tasnim news agency, which is affiliated with the IRGC, published an article predicting the death of Rafsanjani, describing him as the pawn of the British and of the BBC. It added that since he was not chosen assembly head and can no longer serve the British, they no longer need him, and he would be more useful to them dead.[6]

In light of these developments, MEMRI assesses that the Iranian regime may no longer stop at harassing Rafsanjani’s relatives and associates,[7] and that there is a possibility that it will now move to harming Rafsanjani directly.

Following are threatening comments and actual threats made against Rafsanjani in recent days:

IRGC Commander Threatens Rafsanjani

On May 24, 2016, at a cadet graduation ceremony attended by Supreme Leader Khamenei, Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), said: “Thanks to the Islamic Revolution and the awakening of mankind, monotheistic beliefs have spread in the region and in the world in this new age, and the garbage dump of Western culture has been set on the path of assured destruction. Nevertheless, some in the country who think a certain way are stealing glances at foreigners and speaking [highly] of the rotting values of Western cultures, in comparison with Iran’s noble religious values and culture.

“These [people] should know that the religious public in Iran, which is revolutionary and which nurtures martyrs, will not tolerate these thoughts, or those who have them, in Iran’s politics and culture. They must know that if they persist in their deviant path, they will meet with the same catastrophe as did those who preceded them in deviating from the straight path of the leader [Khamenei] and the Imam [Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini] and who remain infamous in the memory of the Iranian nation.

“The IRGC and the Basij accompany the spirit of revolution and values of the great Iranian nation, and will never allow some of the infiltration camps that are influenced by the West, that can be found within the apparatuses of the regime, to carry out deceptions or to force their foolish view on, and tarnish, the blessed life of the Islamic Revolution.”[8]

Kayhan Editorial: “The Baha’i And The New Infiltrators”

The May 18, 2016 editorial of the daily Kayhan, titled “The Baha’i and the New Infiltrators,” stated: “Ms. What’s-her-name [Rafsanjani’s daughter] travels with ease to America and England. While a BBC Persia reporter encounters visa problems with America, this lady does not. A few days before the election, she travels to America. Why? Do not assume the worst. Maybe she simply craved a McDonald’s sandwich.

“In July 2012, she pops over to England, saying that she is going to the Olympic Games, but her lawyer says that she went to visit her son, who was studying there… Something happens and her brother also arrives in London, remaining for several years on the pretext of visiting a certain university. Later, there come reports that he was involved in stepping up the sanctions [on Iran] as fuel for the green fitna…

“After her recent visit with one of the leaders of the Zionist-Baha’i channel, Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani expressed – in three lines, no more – that Faezeh had made a mistake and must rectify it. She said that she had made no mistake, and that she had no regrets… [and Rafsanjani] distanced himself from the Baha’i cult… [that is] crooked and colonialist and that joined the leaders of the fitna in a collective project…

“Is it now time for you [addressing Rafsanjani] to renounce Baha’ism… or is it time for you to renounce those who are an organic part of the Baha’i [i.e. your daughter]… They [the Baha’i] denied [the existence of] the Mahdi [the Hidden Imam]… and, in London, they operated a computer room for the Green Movement…

“What should be done about a camp lacking in all cultural, political, and economic honor, which engages in forming [spy] rings and [political] parties, and in amassing capital? …

“We are currently in all-out cultural, political, and economic war with the historic enemies of the Iranian nation… The enemy came to the arena without fear… We must understand what operation is being planned by the enemy, and come to the arena without delay and without pleasantries.”[9]

Basij Commander Attacks Rafsanjani

On May 16, 2016, Basij commander Mohammad Reza Naqdi said: “Infiltration elements [meaning Rafsanjani] are amassing a fortune and creating [socioeconomic] classes, increasing poverty, and then pop up to express concern for the poor. These people are behind the unnecessary large-scale imports, and when [Iranian] companies go bankrupt and when national production grinds to a halt, they say we must facilitate relations with the foreigners and compromise with America so that our problems will be solved.

“They meet with Sunnis [referring to Rafsanjani’s past good relations with the Saudis] and create many expectations for them, and then approach a camp that has does not believe in Sunni-Shi’ite unity and collaborate with it against the regime.

“This group of infiltration elements sits down with the Baha’i at the expense of Islam, while at the same time asking, ‘What has the [Islamic] Revolution done for Islam?’ …

“This group calls Basij members extremists because they zealously defended Islam or because they shouted their criticism. Yet it recognizes America as good despite its evil, interprets its crimes favorably, and says that we must compromise and make friends with [the Americans].

“This group of infiltration elements is attempting to blur the difference between truth and lies, and to present someone else as the main enemy. For example, it has a plan to paint Saudi Arabia as the main enemy, while compromising with America and maintaining relations with it.”[10]

Judiciary Spokesman And Prosecutor General Criticizes Rafsanjani’s Daughter

On May 18, 2016, Judiciary spokesman and prosecutor-general Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Eje’i said: “Faezeh Hashemi’s meeting with a member of the Baha’i cult is an ugly and condemnable act. We will deal with her in accordance with the law. As per my understanding, many people, including senior clerics and other known figures, have condemned this act. Even uglier was that her father spoke about this but that she did not apologize.”[11]

Assembly Of Experts Member And Tehran Friday Prayer Leader Criticizes Rafsanjani’s Daughter

In an interview with the Tasnim news agency, which is close to the IRGC, Assembly of Experts member and Tehran Friday prayer leader Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said: “In fact, Baha’i is not a religion, but an espionage party. The world of arrogance has completely supported this espionage cult, and still does. A fatwa by all the ayatollahs regarding Baha’ism is clear and unequivocal – [according to this fatwa,] it is a deviant cult that is outside the Shi’a and must be treated as foreign.

“Recently, a certain political figure met one of the leaders of this cult. We must condemn any behavior that will cause a break in the barrier against relations with this devious cult. In the Islamic regime [of Iran], no one must bring about the revival of this hated cult, neither on the pretext of human rights or on any other [pretext]. Certainly, meeting with a member of this cult is complete deviation and cannot be acknowledged as just a mistake.”[12]

 

Endnotes:

[1] See, for example, statements by Combatant Clergy Assembly member Jafar Shajuni, who said that Rafsanjani and his relatives are “anti-revolutionary and burned.” Entekhab (Iran), May 18, 2016.

[2] See, for example, statements by Assembly of Experts member Ayatollah Heshmatzadeh Harisi, who, defending Rafsanjani prior to the assembly’s election of a new chairman, said he was not a traitor and that he did not seek to harm the Islamic Revolution. He added that even if Rafsanjani were to be elected Assembly of Experts head, he would not have the authority to enact constitutional changes regarding the status of the supreme leader. Entekhab (Iran), May 18, 2016.

[3] Many regime clerics have issued fatwas against the Baha’i.

[4] Combatant Clergy Assembly member Jafar Shajuni said on May 18, 2016: “The chairmanship of the Assembly of Experts should not fall into the hands of anti-revolutionists. Rest assured that it will not fall into the hands of Rafsanjani.” Entekhab(Iran), May 18, 2016.

[5] The Assembly of Experts chairmanship was ultimately given to Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, who also heads the Guardian Council, even though he received the fewest votes in the Tehran constituency in the general elections for the assembly.

[6] Tasnim (Iran), June 6, 2016.

[7] See Rafsanjani’s harsh response following negative reports by Iran’s broadcast authority on him and the Islamic Azad University, which he owns. ILNA (Iran), May 19, 2016.

[8] ILNA (Iran), May 24 2016.

[9] Kayhan (Iran), May 18, 2016.

[10] Mehr (Iran), May 16, 2016.

[11] ISNA (Iran), May 18, 2016.

[12] Tasnim (Iran), May 18, 2016.