The Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) on August 18, 2014 quoted the chairman of the State Expediency Council as saying that the Center for Parliament Deputies, Past and Present, is a valuable club whose potential has not been fully tapped. The following is an excerpt of the report the agency filed on Mr. Rafsanjani’s comments:
At a meeting with a host of MPs on Monday, Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani touched on developments at home and in regional countries and said the situation on the ground warrants restraint and tolerance in dealing with smear campaigns and baseless criticism.
He said the media empire of the enemy has trained its guns on Iran’s Islamic Revolution, adding what stands out about the Iranians are their civilization and Islamic culture which are manifested in their ethics. “We should not allow hardliners to stain the reputation of Muslim Iranians on the international stage.”
In a fast-developing world, adoption of a sound foreign policy is a necessity, Ayatollah Rafsanjani said, asking why Muslims who are required by their holy book to serve as a model for the world should opt for a life of isolation. “Formulation of a sound foreign policy is vital to successful interaction with others in the global village.”
Ayatollah Rafsanjani then referred to standout qualities of the Iranian people such as bravery and integrity and said there is no reason to say things which are religiously and nationally unfounded.
The top councilor stated Islamic unity is central to all religious, cultural and social policies and added extremism is like a virus which begins to tear away at cells immediately after it finds its way into a body. “Most recently, the group that calls itself the Islamic State described its fighters as colleagues of angels.”
He warned those who promote extremism in the country and said extremism leads to the emergence of groups such as IS, Al-Qaida, the Taliban and Boko Haram, who view the killings of fellow people as their duty.
Recalling the recent developments in some North African and the Middle Eastern countries, Ayatollah Rafsanjani said extremists reversed the revolutions the public staged in these countries and forced them to seek help from colonial powers who in turn indulged extremists just to kill the hopes those nations had pinned on popular uprisings.
Iraq serves as a perfect example where foreigners are trying to eliminate the confidence of the public in revolutionary and Islamic governments, he stated, adding Iraqis who suffered a lot under Saddam now have to deal with insecurity caused by an extremist group that has gone on a rampage in strategic areas in the country.
Hashemi Rafsanjani said the crimes the Islamic State is committing against Yazidis should be a wakeup call for the international community and the lesson Islamic nations should learn from developments in Iraq is that in the absence of unity between Shiites and Sunnis, extremists cement their foothold.
He went on to say the fact that the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution deeply believes in moderation provides solid grounds for cooperation with a government which has run on a platform of moderation. “But some are ignoring the Supreme Leader’s expression of support for the Iranian negotiating team and are fanning the flames of division.”
In conclusion, the chairman of the Expediency Council said, “I owe a debt of gratitude to the public and all revolutionary officials and I will try my best till the last breath to help the Iranians stick to their rights.”