After an absence of several weeks Ali Akbar Hasemi Rafsanjani returned on 18 July to the Tehran friday prayer in order to give a sermon. In it he reiterated his criticism of the way the presidential election had been conducted. He stressed that the legitimacy of the Islamic Republic is based upon the will of the people and that the late imam Khomeiny acted accordingly (remarks by the way which are open to debate).
After that he continued by asking to release whoever had been arrested during the recent unrest and to restore press freedom. Unfortunately - in his words - the five more days that were granted to the Council of the Guardian to reconsider the election results had not been used properly. But now it was obviously too late to change the course of events. Consequently he urged Iran's leadership to start an open debate in order to regain the trust of the people and open possibilities to solve the crisis in order that in the future the people can choose the candidate of their choice. What follows is the integral translation of this part of Rafsanjani's speech.
We have to create an atmosphere that all sides can come and express their views. And all sides must act rationally and without quarrel. Logic should rule. Of course the main task here falls on the Voice and Vision [of the Islamic Republic, meaning state broadcaster] as it has greater audience. And all other media outlets must do the same. [Sentence indistinct]. They should sit down and talk to each other in a brotherly and sisterly manner and point out their reasons. Eventually the people will find out the truth and we can ask the people too. We have to provide the ground to return this trust to the people. Unfortunately, a good use was not made of the opportunity that the Supreme Leader [Ali Khamene'i] gave the Guardian Council in which an extra five days was given to them to talk to the ulema. I do not of course want to blame anyone for this lost opportunity, but, nonetheless, it did not happen. [Crowd chanting] We have passed that stage. We are going through another stage now. I believe that for the sake of the future and our unity and for preventing the danger facing the system and for safeguarding the values created by the Revolution and for the sake of the martyrs and the efforts of those who struggled on this path whose achievements are now passed on to us and in order for these achievement to be passed on to the third and forth and following generation, at this juncture we can move along this path. If we accept the above two points that we move in line with the law and leave the door to debate, negotiations and reasoning open, perhaps in a short while we will be satisfied.
Resolve current "crisis"
Meanwhile, we have to do other things. Under current circumstances, there is no need for us to have people in prisons. Allow them to return to their families. [Chants of indistinct slogans from the masses in support of the cleric's comment]. Let's not allow our enemies to reprimand and laugh at us and hatch plots against us just because a few certain people are in prison. We should be brave and patient enough to tolerate one another. Sympathy should be shown to the victims of the recent incidents which took place. We should offer condolences to those who are mourning and bring their hearts closer to the establishment. And this is possible. Those who are faithful to the Revolution and know that the system needs them, can cooperate with us with their heart and soul. We have to do this, be tolerant and show them sympathy.
There is no need to make haste here and put ourselves into trouble. We should not limit our media, which have got legal permission for their activities. They should be able to work within the framework of the laws. As I mentioned before, the law is the criteria. Neither the media should expect to have activities beyond the legal framework, nor should the establishment expect them to ignore their legal rights. All should let to create a calm, open, critical, or even confirming atmosphere. I think that our officials, Law Enforcement Force, military and security forces should help to create that atmosphere.
We are all members of a family. All of us have endured hardship in the path of the revolution. All of us have invested in this long holy jihad and given martyrs. All of us [word indistinct]. We have our own idea. Why should others from long distance come and make up a prescription for us [give advice to us]. We are independent. [Word indistinct]. Do we not have 30-year experience of running the country? Do we not have ulema? Why should our Sources [of Emulation, meaning senior clerics], who always have been supportive, and our seminary schools, which have never had any expectations for their efforts, be upset today. We should keep their support and rely on them. If we preserve the unity, God willing, I hope that this Friday prayer sermon will be a turning point for the future and we will be able to successfully resolve this problem, which unfortunately can be described as a crisis. I hope that unity, fraternity, and fair competition [in elections] will again prevail, so that people can elect whoever they like.