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As of January 2009, this site is definitely closed, but you can follow Safa Haeri on his new blog: DAMAVAND at

Khameneh’i’s Leadership Challenged By Mr. Hassan Rohani

Published Friday, February 29, 2008

Tehran, 29 Feb. (IPS)      As rumours about the health conditions of the megalomaniac Iranian Leader amplifies in closed circuits, one of the most influential and educated clerics for the first time criticised his policies and leadership.

          “Foreign policy is not giving slogans, it is not stubbornness, it is the art of dialogue and flexibility, it is not the art of making enemies, but friends”, Hojjatoleslam Hassan Rohani, one of Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i’s personal representatives at the Supreme Council on National Security (SCNS) said on Wednesday, in a speech that Iran watchers saw it as a crude criticism of the Leader, who decides on every major foreign and domestic issues, including the controversial nuclear question.

Foreign policy is not giving slogans, it is not stubbornness, it is the art of dialogue and flexibility, it is not the art of making enemies, but friends”.

          Speaking at a conference on the “20 Years Perspectives and a Progressive Foreign Policy”, the former Secretary of the SCNS pointed out at the ambiguities of the Iranian political “jargon”, saying “we still have not reached an agreement on many problems, on how to conduct our foreign policy, on how to deal with our interlocutors, on how to present our policies to the world opinion”.

In the political system of the Islamic Republic of Iran, it is the Leader, not the President, who decides on important questions, observers pointed out.

What surprised many observers was that Mr. Rohani was speaking just one day after Mr. Khameneh’i had confirmed the nuclear line of the Government and praised the “distinct role of the President” in conducting the nuclear standoff with the international community.

Mr. Khameneh’i’s warm praising of Mr. Ahmadinejad, but also the conservatives-controlled Majles (Iranian Parliament) took place during a meeting with the members of the Experts Assembly, the only official organ of the Iranian political system which has the power to dismiss the Leader – but is controlled by him -- and is presided over by Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, considered as a strong rival to both Mr. Khameneh’i and Ahmadinejad.

 “Alongside of the heroic resistance of the people and the courageous reaction of the Government, particularly the distinct role of the President, the seventh Majles, contrary to the previous one, really persisted and resisted in the nuclear question”, the Leader observed.

Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i
The megalomaniac Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i do not stand any criticism against himself.

According to many political analysts, this was one of the rare times that Mr. Khameneh’i was congratulating one faction and humiliating the other.

Though Khameneh’i is known to be closer to the conservatives, but usually he do not openly take side in the battle between the conservatives and the reformists. This was the first time that he openly expressed his anger at the sixth Majles, which, at some occasions, tried to challenge his authority, and via the sixth Majles, which was dominated by the reformists, he also lashed out at the moderates, led by Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani and former president Mohammad Khatami”, one Paris-based analyst explained.

Iranian officials congratulated each other, and all of them the Leader, following the report presented early this week by Mr. Mohammad ElBaradei to both the Security Council of the United Nations and the Board of directors of the IAEA, expressing satisfaction at the degree of Iranian cooperation with the IAEA inspectors and providing clear answers to some pending questions about the Iranian nuclear programmes, hailing it as a “great victory” for Iran over America and some of its allies that want the ayatollah suspend their atomic activities, particularly enriching uranium.

But Mr. Ahmadinejad and his colleagues deliberately ignored two important points of the report that are negative for Iran and says it “can not say for sure that Iran is not after nuclear weapons” and that Tehran “continues to enrich uranium despite the demand by the international community to suspend it”.

“As we were talking with the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), they (the ruling conservatives) said in their media that we are selling secret information to the enemy. Another day, they said we shall not allow (IAEA Boss) ElBaradei in the country, to changer their mid, writing another day that whatever he says is good and right. One day they said we should not talk to the foreigners because they are spies and inflidels, they are traitors, and then they changed their minds, said the spies are nice people. How can we explain such contradictions?” Mr. Rohani, the former top coordinator of the nuclear negotiations asked.

Mr. Ahmadinejad and his colleagues deliberately ignored two important points of the ElBaradei report that were negatives for Iran.

Mr. Rohani criticised the harsh and coarse language of the President and his insistence that the Islamic Republic is a model for the whole world, particularly the Islamic nations, saying: “We can not say we want progress and development and at the same time insist that we don’t care about the world….a world that more and more in interconnected, a world in which we need a good policy, not coarse words”.

According to many Iran watchers, although “on the surface” Mr. Rohani’s remarks look being addressed at the President, but in fact he is directly challenging the Leader, who alone takes all important decisions and dictates them to the president for implementation.

“We want to be a good model for the world of Islam, to be source of inspiration for Muslim nations, which are looking at us. But are Malaysia, Indonesia or Arab countries really taking prescriptions from Iran? In our foreign policy, do we want to be ambiguous, or clear, do we want the region and the world to be afraid of us or to be our friends, do we want to become everyday more fearful or more attractive?”, the outspoken cleric, who is a close friend of Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani concluded.

During his meeting with the Assembly of Experts, an event taking place one day after a “historic” invitation extended by Mr. Ahmadinejad to his arch’ rival Hashemi Rafsanjani and aimed at a “national reconciliation” weeks before the forthcoming Legislative elections, Mr. Khameneh’i also brushed off division of the Iranian officials in “moderates” and “hard liners”, attributing such division of the Iranian political elite to “enemy’s propaganda”.

“We can not erect walls around us and attribute all our problems to enemies. We need a flexible foreign policy, not one that increases pressures on us. While we have not reached a consensus on some basic questions, while we still do not know which line to adopt in our policy, how do we want to reach the world around us”, he concluded, in a clear reference to Mr. Khameneh’i’s persistence of “no dialogue with the “Great American Satan”. ENDS ROHANI CHALLENGING 29208




9 comment(s) on this page. Add your own comment below.

daryush shokof (alireza shokoufandeh)
Friday, April 4, 2008 20:15 [ 1 ]

1.there is no difference between any of Iran,s ruling personalities. 2.Iran,s leaders and that of the rest of the world eat together day and night, trade with one another and the well being of Iranians is of no importance to any of them. 3.Iran,s Atomic issue is only a reason to forget all the rest of the most important issues crowding Iran,s skies and it,s people today. these problems are: 1.FREEDOM 2.Addiction 3.Suicide rate 4.Complete inability to cope with the rest of the world 5.Iranians to become the test MICE of ISLAM. 6.FREEDOM, FREEDOM, and again FREEDOM ONLY. once the above is taken care of and Iranians are free to choose their own government, civilization, write freely, paint, talk, wear, and , religion, then Iran as well as amny other civilized nation on Earth would be entitled to have the right of use of Atonic Energy. The Issue of Atomic Iran is only a deceiving argument to distract the world from all the above most elementary and important matters Iranians have had to deal with for the last 30 years. No Iranian wants a barrel of oil to wear, and or the sound of an explosion of an atom bomb to dance to.all the oil in the world does not mean a thing to any countr,s civilization, communications with the rest of the world and or being as effective of a constructive person doing his or her duties to make this a better world. Iranians were a good and giving and positive nation many years ago when there was no oil on Earth, no Bomb in discussions, and or Mullahs to tell them how to act, wear, talk , write, read, and or....all the other horrible, monsterous evil thoughts they have inflicted upon Iranians whenever they had a chance to rule over Iran. be honest and tell the Iranians that you are on their side. stop dealing with the Barbarian Mullahs, and let Iranians join the civilized world and do their duties to make this world a better place to be. they are great fun to live along a good life with on Earth. all the best to all who would join such a force to strike the FREEDOM in IRAN, and not only striking deals for OIL.

Iran doost
Saturday, April 12, 2008 16:02 [ 2 ]

I agree, to think that there is any difference between the religious leaders of Iran is misleading. They are all one and the same. A deeper look at their family relations will reveal that they have strong family ties and will never cross the line and betray each other. This is all facade.

Saturday, April 26, 2008 14:12 [ 3 ]

shokof is great for Iran.10 more personalities like this great thinker,atist, and Iran would be a whole dfferent country . it would become the country that would be most rspected for all the good it could do.

Saturday, April 26, 2008 14:17 [ 4 ]

a look at this great Iranian artist shows what Iran once was and could become again.Irais more than ever full with talets and people who are sincerely dedicated to freedom and good in the world. i agree with shokof, and his free thoughts, and courage. my respect.wíth the hope that Iran would become a free nation again with the help of many great Iranins like daryush shokof.

Sunday, August 3, 2008 13:40 [ 5 ]

shokof Iran seems to be interesting for its wealth, but i have never read an article that clearly defines there are Iranians living in Iran and have nothing to do with the wealth, atom, oil, and....all the material things. those great people deserve much greater people running that country. i admire what shokof writes, and agree that it is an insult to talk about Iran and the problems with Iran only in terms of unclear this, and oil taht. we need to help Iranians to get rid of the current evil gangsters ruling that country with the help of the world ruling gangster communities.

Monday, August 25, 2008 17:14 [ 6 ]

what a wonderful analysis about what not just iran and iranians are all about but human beings as a whole and contries under tyrann regimes. i agree with Mr.Shokof that it is greatly an insult to minimize the honor and dignity of Iranians (or any nation for that matter)to have atomic issues as their only problems while suffering so greatly, and brutally under this barbaric islamic reime in iran. i shall hope that free minded people like Mr.Shokof himself RUN for presideny and or active roles in saving Iran, and Iranians from under this most inhumane regime.

Friday, September 19, 2008 04:51 [ 7 ]

As an American, I want you to know that we the people, find the Iranian to be very strong, simply for the reasons they had to have this much tolerance from theor government, but still found ways to survive daily, with their good minds and creativities, as well as their hospitality. The thing I love about many Iranians, is that they still want friendships with Americans, and most of them do not allow their government to brainwash them about American people.Its become a difficult world, and many Irani feel as I do in regard to hoping that Israel and Palestine will communicate more (they have inter-married, so they are a part of each other, only separated by the difference of religion.) Americans do not hate Islam, they hate radicals in any faith or organization, who wish to harm others because they have a different faith, and suppress and hurt their own people. The world needs change, and it begins with all of us as individuals everywhere to insist on making this world better together peacefully. No one wants fighting, and fighting comes when freedoms are taken away or mis-communications occur. USA will drastically reduce its need for oil, and then sell their new energy for cars and homes to other countries. So governments with radical groups need to communicate and change them, because after the drastic need for oil diminishes, what will be left for the Mid East? Lets exchange friendships between peoples even if our governments are too slow to solve the issues. Muslims, Jews, Christians and all others can learn to understand that we all want the same things, mostly to live comfortably with our families, to be happy, and to do good things in this world, and help one another, all races and religions....:)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008 01:09 [ 8 ]

shokof is all iran needs. hell with all therest.get the power in your hands you iranians. you are much more inteligent than to fall into such a trap for over 30 years. common . just do it. down with the mullahs. up with shokofs.

jam lindsy
Wednesday, November 5, 2008 18:20 [ 9 ]

the writing of Mr. Shokof should be an eye opening introduction to many who only try to relate to Iran as an atomic issue. a great writing. i am ashamed to have been an American speculating all iran and iranians are about is atomic this and OIL THAT.

Comments on this page are closed.

As of January 2009, this site is definitely closed, but you can follow Safa Haeri on his new blog: DAMAVAND at

Hassan Rohani
Hojjatoleslam Hassan Rohani is one of the most influential and outspoken clerics

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