In a statement issued on Saturday the Assembly of Experts expressed its “strong support” for the Supreme Leader’s statements on the presidential elections on Friday.
The 86-member assembly stated in the statement that it is hoped that the nation would realize the current condition and by sticking to the Leader’s guidelines preserve their patience and manifest their unity.
The Qom Seminary Teachers Society also issued a statement on Saturday declaring strong support for the guidelines of the Supreme Leader. [continued…]
Editor’s Comment – updated — Readers at Huffington Post point out that this statement only bears one signature: that of Mohammad Yazdi, a rival of Rafsanjani. Whether or not statements from the assembly generally have multiple signatures I have no idea.
If, as has been suggested by various commentators, former President Rafsanjani has in recent days been lobbying the body that he chairs to mount some form of opposition to Khamenei (the Assembly of Experts has the authority to replace the Supreme Leader), then that effort appears to have failed. A key unanswered question remains: where does Rafsanjani stand? He has yet to break his silence or reveal his location.
The Los Angeles Times provides some additional perspective on Rafsanjani from Iran scholar Mohsen Milani:
Some Western commentators have made much of the apparent divisions among Iran’s ruling clerics. Milani is more cautious, saying Khamenei signaled in his Friday sermon that he might be willing to bring prominent moderate and former president Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani back into the fold.
“In the past, I have seen how cracks have been created and then repaired,” Milani says. “What I am watching for is whether there is a permanent division between Rafsanjani and Khamenei . . . I am not convinced there is.”
Asked whether the opposition movement would persist without its current figureheads, he says, “I believe this is one of the reasons that Rafsanjani has not made up his mind. He knows on the one hand that Ahmadinejad is determined to undermine him. Ahmadinejad has made that very clear. On the other hand, the strategic decision that Rafsanjani has to make is if he does not join the Islamic regime that is in power today, then his fate is locked with the fate of the (opposition) movement . . . He is waiting I think to see where is the center of gravity in these unfolding events, and then he will decide where to go.”