Hashemi Rafsanjani, the head of the Expediency Discernment Council, in an interview with Jam-e Jam on the anniversary of the passing of Imam Khomeini, talked about the achievements of the Islamic Revolution and the role Imam Khomeini played in keeping the revolution from going astray. He also discussed current events during the interview.
In response to a question about the recent Arab revolutions and the question of whether other countries might be moving towards change as well, Hashemi Rafsanjani stated, "I think that these sudden movements in the Arab world were not accidental. I personally feel that the West helped these movements to a great extent. They helped a lot in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, and Libya. The reason might be that they have also learned that dictatorships no longer function and they must be removed, because people no longer tolerate such dependencies."
Hashemi went on to talk about the main reason behind these revolutions, saying, "Among all the possible reasons, the most important one might be the information explosion. This was in the form of virtual media, satellite networks and the internet. People's knowledge and their education level were also very effective. The majority of people in countries such as Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and Yemen are no longer illiterate."
In his analysis of regional developments he mentioned recent events in Egypt, saying, "The fact that fifty percent of Egyptians did not participate in recent elections seems very strange to me; to see that a people who suffered so much under the dictatorship are now not voting in a rather open environment to elect their preferred candidate. We thought 80 to 90 percent would vote in Egyptian elections. And they were free elections where no one was able to protest the outcome."
Hashemi continued by saying that we must not make the situation in Egypt sound worse than it is: "Ahmed Shafiq is not as important a figure as we think. Didn't Mr. Banisadr also receive the majority of votes in our country's election after the revolution? Mr. Banisadr was never at the heart of the revolution, but he received a strong majority of votes when he returned to Iran from Paris. If we didn't have Imam Khomeini at that time to guide the situation and control the crisis, the path of the revolution might have also gone astray."
In comparing the early years of the Iranian Revolution to the current situation in Egypt, he noted the Imam's wise management as the main factor behind the revolution and its success, stating, "It was the Imam's wisdom and character that helped manage these problems gradually and from the root. It is certain that any revolution that takes place, even if it is a people's revolution, will face these types of problems sooner or later, except if it is led by a strong current and a strong individual who can control extremists."
The effect of the economic crisis on the West
In response to a question about the effect of the economic crisis on the West, Hashemi said, "This is an old topic. It has been repeated several times throughout history. We can currently mention France as an example. The Socialists have come to the scene. They had previously come to power with the presidency of Mr. Mitterrand."
He added, "We cannot say that these changes and replacements change destinies. Even Mr. Hollande himself, who recently won the presidential elections, is committed to many capitalist policies, including those regarding Iran. Statements made by Hollande's Foreign Minister following the Baghdad talks are exactly the same as those of the Americans."
Analysis of the nuclear negotiations
In another part of the interview, Hashemi talked about the nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1, saying, "The US should one day finally show some goodwill towards Iran. If they try to take advantage of negotiations while following a policy of hostility, it will not work, and it might even have a reverse effect. If the Americans one day show their goodwill, the situation will differ."
Hashemi stressed, "To quote the Imam, "Whenever the US grows up and learns, it is then that we can solve problems. We can't always hold enmity towards the US."
The Head of the Expediency Discernment Council added, "The US currently intends to move forward with a policy of sanctions and pressure. They also have the upper hand in negotiations. They have set their sanctions. They have put pressure on us. They have enforced UN resolutions. Now, when we sit at the negotiation table, they say that if we do this or that, they will lessen sanctions. This is not called negotiating! Negotiating means sitting around a table under equal conditions and working together while taking into consideration public and social interests."
While stating that Obama might use Iran's nuclear dossier to his advantage in his reelection bid, he said, "They might use this issue to their benefit in their campaign; our information, though, is not thorough enough yet. The only thing that is clear is that our opposing side has united. Even China and Russia said that Iran must halt its enrichment. In the past, they were never able to put so much pressure on Iran. The situation has become rather difficult for us."
He then went on to talk about his analysis of the Islamic Republic's current situation with regard to the nuclear issue in comparison with the past, saying, "After the Istanbul talks, a sort of false optimism was spread after statements made by both the Iranians and the West. We said these things because we wanted there to be some hope in our country, and the West needed to make these statements because of its numerous economic problems. Therefore, both sides tried to show that there was a positive atmosphere and to create some hope. But the Baghdad talks made it clear that it wasn't so. We still don't have enough information and making a complete analysis is no simple task. What is clear, though, is that the West is moving forward with the idea of sanctions, saying that through the use of sanctions, they have been able to soften Iran's positions in negotiations. However, Iran has also shown that it will not be pushed around by these threats and sanctions. We must therefore wait to receive more real and detailed information about this issue."
Hashemi's opinion about the next government
In another part of the interview, and in response to a question about the next government in Iran (after the 2013 presidential election), Hashemi briefly gave his evaluation of this issue by stating, "We favor a government that acts in a wise, just, and balanced manner and one that makes use of experienced forces in different sectors of society, without heavily partisan considerations. I currently have no specific individual in mind."