NewsSpecial WireIran’s former President criticises leader’s choice

Iran’s former President criticises leader’s choice

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Iran Focus: Tehran, Aug. 22 – In one of his most forthright comments since losing the presidential elections in June, former President Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani on Monday criticised the removal of Hassan Rowhani as secretary general of the Supreme National Security Council, the country’s highest decision-making body on security-related issues. “It would have been much more beneficial for [Rowhani”> to have remained [secretary general of”> the Supreme National Security Council, but this did not happen”, the elderly cleric told a high-level meeting organised to honour Rowhani’s services during his tenure as SNSC secretary general. Iran Focus

Tehran, Aug. 22 – In one of his most forthright comments since losing the presidential elections in June, former President Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani on Monday criticised the removal of Hassan Rowhani as secretary general of the Supreme National Security Council, the country’s highest decision-making body on security-related issues.

“It would have been much more beneficial for [Rowhani”> to have remained [secretary general of”> the Supreme National Security Council, but this did not happen”, the elderly cleric told a high-level meeting organised to honour Rowhani’s services during his tenure as SNSC secretary general.

Rowhani has been replaced by hard-liner Ali Larijani, a former Revolutionary Guards brigadier general and a close confidant of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

“The SNSC is the mainstay of maintaining the country’s security”, Rafsanjani said. “This is where the country’s destiny is shaped and it must be led in a non-partisan manner, transcending political tendencies”.

Rafsanjani’s criticism of the changes in the SNSC was his most direct public attacks on decisions taken by Khamenei in recent years. He made it clear that Rowhani had been his protégé since the early days of the 1979 Islamic revolution that swept the Shiite clerics to power in Iran.

“He was with me during all my war trips and even though he was not a military man, we found his views very useful”, Rafsanjani said, referring to the eight-year war with Iraq in the 1980s, when he was the acting commander in chief of Iran’s armed forces.

Rafsanjani expressed hope that Rowhani would be “as successful in the Centre for Strategic Studies as he has been in the SNSC”.

His comments seemed to dampen speculation Rowhani might soon replace former Revolutionary Guards commander Mohsen Rezai as secretary of the State Expediency Council, the country’s top arbitration body chaired by Rafsanjani. The Centre for Strategic Studies is an in-house “think tank” of the State Expediency Council.

Ex-President Mohammad Khatami also heaped praise on Rowhani in the same meeting.

Brigadier General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ Qods Force, presented a commemorative plaque to Rowhani on behalf of his men. The Qods Force, which acts as the extra-territorial branch of the Revolutionary Guards, has been running the Iranian regime’s vast clandestine operations in Iraq for the past two years.

Ali Rabii, the principal aide to Rowhani in the SNSC, told the meeting that the council had held 107 closed-door meetings on Iraq in the past year.

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