Chairman of the Expediency Council Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani issued a statement on his website on August 5, 2014 to mark the first anniversary of the rise to power of President Hassan Rouhani’s government of Prudence and Hope. The following is the translation of Ayatollah Rafsanjani’s statement which was released one year to the day President Rouhani was confirmed in office:
Praise to God that over the past year, the government of Prudence and Hope has begun to pick up the pieces in different sectors. Revamping the foreign policy based on esteem, wisdom, and expediency has particularly seen the green shoots of hope grow.
In the history of world nations, especially in that of the honorable Iranian nation which has a brilliant civilization under its belt and has entwined it with Islamic culture as the essence of heavenly religions, there have always been ups and downs. Strengths and weaknesses as such coupled with the public opinion about them are a clear manifestation of learning from past mistakes and drawing a roadmap for the future.
At times there have been incidents the Iranians have not played a role in. For instance, in the past foreign foes have sometimes taken advantage of imprudence on the part of Iran’s rulers, and that has resulted in the invasion of the country and or occupation of the whole land or some parts of it. Unfortunately history has piles of records in connection with separation of such parts from Iran.
According to the Koran [verse 39 of An-Najm Surah] “That man can only have the fruit of what he has strived for.” Other events emanate from the collective will of the Iranian nation. If we exclude the heartfelt conversion of Iranians to Shiism in the past, the meaningful and collective presence of people in the major stage of the uprising and their standing by its religious and political leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, is the best example in contemporary history.
Before the revolution, foreign powers supported the former regime and tried to sabotage the popular uprising against it. Even after the revolution, some foreign advisors and lots of people who plundered Iran’s rich resources, including oil, under the pretext of economic activities did not unpack their luggage after leaving Iran and fostered the illusion that they would return before long.
However, when they saw sheer determination on the part of people and clerics to run the country efficiently, they turned to conspiracies for which there are numerous undeniable documents revealing their involvement in revolts, secession plots and assassinations. When in their think tanks they made sure how to tempt and incite Iraq’s Baath regime to invade Iran, they explicitly stated that this time around the Islamic revolution would collapse or some parts of Iran would secede. Later I saw their ominous plots in writing at the Baath army’s command centers. They were aimed at overrunning Tehran in a week, invading Khuzestan Province or at least advancing on Behbahan and Masjed Soleyman [two cities in Khuzestan Province in southwestern Iran].
In the most international of world organizations, those wielding the unjust veto power expressed open hostility toward Iran and regularly lent financial, military, propaganda, and intelligence support to the Baath regime. Still, the 8-year Sacred Defense [Iran-Iraq war 1980-1988] and its military and political achievements are a practical manifestation of the Koran [verse 7 of Mohammad Surah] which says: “If you make efforts in Allah’s way, he will help you”.
In the post-war era, Iran’s greedy enemies sough to capitalize on the destruction of five provinces, a halt to production and historical deficiencies, assuming that the Iranian people would finally beg them for help. However, the 8-year reconstruction period was confirmation of the capabilities of the Iranian youth who constructed the country’s infrastructure through development plans. It was foreign investors who financed the country’s national projects in return for economic gains, which is common practice in today’s world.
When the stage was set for political and cultural development, in the next step, the Supreme Leader drew on the Constitution to piece together the general policies of the establishment. Among other things, the most important achievements of this time were the 20-year Economic Outlook Plan and the amendment of Article 44. If they had been implemented properly, the world would have witnessed an economic revolution in Iran.
The previous government could have built on our road map and oil revenues over the eight years it was in power to take the nation toward the peaks of knowledge and technology and make it a regional best, yet unfortunately, the country resorted to populist policies. Hopelessly entangled in the daily grind, executive officials overlooked the upstream documents of the country.
To cover up their weaknesses in taking huge steps toward the country’s goals, they downplayed the development plans, and viewed them as nothing but ‘paper pulp’. After eight years, despite substantial oil revenues unprecedented since the discovery of petroleum, the country plunged into the worst inflationary recession ever and suffered a hike in unemployment. To economists these disastrous conditions are ‘wretchedness’.
Thank God that the honorable Iranian nation returned to its historical vigilance after those eight years and opted for the culture of moderation to stem the tide of going too far, and by doing so proved to the world that those eight years were unsuited for Iranian history. There is no denying that every country might have such wrong policies.
The government of prudence and hope which represents the collective will of the Iranian people is seeking to overcome the country’s shortcomings on economic, cultural, social, religious, political and even foreign policy fronts. Praise to God that over the past year, the government of Prudence and Hope has begun to pick up the pieces in different sectors. Revamping the foreign policy based on esteem, wisdom, and expediency has particularly seen the green shoots of hope grow. Hopefully the government will spot the shortcomings of the past year to improve things in the future.
We should not forget that our nation’s key to success in uprising, in victory, and in consolidation and continued existence of the revolution is ethnic, tribal, and religious unity along with territorial integrity, faith in officials and compliance with the Supreme Leader. In the past at any stage that our enemies have tried to take advantage of shortcomings in one of those areas, some divisions have surfaced. In fact, the enemies still pin their hope on such plots, and unfortunately as ever extremists are beating the drums of division.
Of course, the Iranian nation fathomed the divine enunciation stipulated in the Koran [verse 18 of Az-Zumar Surah]: “Those who listen to different speeches and preaching and follow the best, those are the ones whom Allah has guided and they are indeed men of wisdom.” Actually, the key to the immortality of a dynamic and democratic society is that everybody expresses his/her ideas and the government is the rule of people over people in the true sense of the word.
However, the extremist minority uses the positions it has to play down the voice of the majority as nothing but commotion. And like Kharijites of Nahrawan [Muslims who initially supported the authority of Imam Ali – the son-in-law of Prophet Muhammad – but later rejected his leadership, and therefore are regarded as apostates in Shiism] think of themselves as the essence of right. Those who once accused Imam Ali – the hero of the Battle of Khaybar – of inaction towards his enemies whereas during the Battle of Siffin [fought between Imam Ali and Muawiyeh] they refused to fight, citing the fact that it would amount to atheism if they took on the Muslims who had put copies of Koran on spearheads; those who abandoned their allegiance to Imam Ali and finally one of them, ibn Muljam al-Dulaim, assassinated Imam Ali in the name of protecting Islam in the Mosque of Kufa while he was performing prayer.
Anyway, I hope that after one month of worshiping God in [the fasting month of] Ramadan all Muslims, especially Iranians, have garnered individual and social refinement and made the most of this opportunity, for in this month the Devil is banned from tempting people and the gates of Hell are closed.
On Quds Day [an annual event held on the last Friday of Ramadan initiated by Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979 to express solidarity with the Palestinian people and oppose Zionism] we proved that the innocent Palestinian nation, particularly the displaced children and women of Gaza, are not alone and the Islamic Ummah is one entity.