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Iran Press Service ^ | 4.12.2003 | Safa Haeri

Posted on 04/12/2003 11:57:32 AM PDT by DoctorZIn

PARIS 12 Apr. (IPS) Iranian ruling ayatollahs, seriously concerned at the perspective of being the next on the America’s list of rogue regimes to be removed from power, paved Saturday the way for normalising relations with the United States, suggesting to organise a national referendum on the subject.

The proposal was made by Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani in an interview with "Rahbord" (Strategy) periodical, saying the problem of Iran's thorny relations with both the US and Egypt could be resolved through a referendum or by referring it to the Assembly for Discerning the Interests of the State (ADIS, or Expediency Council).

As some political analysts interpreted the suggestion as a "turning point" in the 24 years-old life of the Islamic Republic or describing it "a great leap forward", other cautioned against "over simplification" and said it is a "new cup of poison" the clerical leaders are drinking in order to save the regime, referring to the dramatic decision taken by the leader of the Islamic Revolution in 1989, accepting a United Nations resolution proclaiming cease-fire in the war with Iraq.

"Now that the ruling ayatollahs have realised the danger that looms over their head, that this American Administration is serious in its menaces, they try to get out of the pit in which they had plunged themselves", commented Mr. Ahmad Ahrar, a seasoned political analyst.

"Even if they are sincere, the big question is whether Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i, the flag bearer of the policy of no dialogue with the Great Satan has the backing of the hard liners who control the Iranian theocratic system from behind the scene or it is just a political game aimed at fooling the hawks in Washington?" he said.

But other observers noted that coming from Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani, the regime’s second most influential voice after that of the leader, the proposal must have been already decided by the Khameneh'i, Hashemi Rafsanjani and Khatami Troika.

"Unites States biggest mistake would be to shake the hands of the Islamic Republic, a regime that has no legitimacy with the Iranian people, a regime that is in a vegetal state. If the Americans fall fool of these statements and buy such lies, they would also loose the sympathy they enjoy with the Iranians", said one students leader speaking on cndition of anonymity.

"If the American want establish real democracy in the region, they must help Iranians to change their regime", he added.

"Of course the leader should approve the final decision", Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani, who chairs the Expediency Council, pointed out, adding: "When an issue turns into a problem, it is referred to the Expediency Council to make a decision on that and when we approve an issue we send it to the leader who usually accepts it", he told the weekly, as reported by the official news agency IRNA.

A consultative body to the leader of the Islamic Republic, the 32-members ADIS also arbitrates in disputes between the Majles and the conservatives-controlled Council of Guardians (CG), which must approve all laws adopted by the parliament to make sure they are in strict conformity with Islamic canons, and also vets all candidates to all elections.

"In both cases of, the proposal would be approved, as, in the one hand, members of the EC are appointed by the leader and on the other, opinion polls shows that more than 74 per cent of the nation approve normalisation of ties with Washington", one analyst told Iran Press Service.

Under the present Constitution, the supreme leader decides on the government’s major policies, both domestic and foreign.

But Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani said the issue of Iran's resumption of ties with the US and Egypt is not included among Iran's general policies. "It is clear that the problems with the US and Egypt do exist, and we have had these problems from the era of the late founder of the Islamic Revolution Imam Khomeini", he said, without explaining.

Reminding remarks by Grand Ayatollah Roohollah Khomeini placing the interests of the State above those of the faith, Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani observed that

"Therefore, whenever it comes to our interests, we can solve whatever foreign problem which is threatening us from the viewpoint of Islam".

"Our ideology is flexible. We can choose our interests on the basis of Islam. Still, to put the country in jeopardy on the ground that we are acting on an Islamic basis is not at all Islamic", he said, noting that Iran's stance of distancing itself from the US is "political rather than religious".

Elsewhere in the interview, Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani criticised the Foreign Affairs Ministry for its "weaknesses" and accepted that the problem come from a lack of experienced staff.

"It is true that in the early years after Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution, the experienced experts of the Ministry fled the country or were dismissed, replaced by a group of youth who took over the affairs of a Ministry which like the Foreign Affairs requires knowledge, expertise and prudence", he said.

"We should not be biased. We have lost many opportunities in the past, we have made inappropriate measures or never made any measure, and we have also delayed in making decisions", he acknowledged.

Washington cut all relations with the newly established Islamic Republic of Iran after revolutionary students – now most of them turned reformists and defending dialogue with the United States -- stormed the American embassy in Tehran and held 55 diplomats and staff as hostage for 444 days.

Tehran cut ties with Egypt after former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat signed the Camp David peace treaty with Israel and sheltered the deposed Shah of Iran. ENDS IRAN US RELATIONS 12403

TOPICS: Breaking News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: iran; iranreform; rafsanjani; us
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The article is by a pro US Iranian news service.

It appears the pressure is on the Iranian leadership. The people want a national referendum on the future of their governemnt. I believe this is just an attempt to calm down the pro US sentiment in Iran. It is looking like Iran is taking the same path as the former USSR. They would only do this if they see no other option.

1 posted on 04/12/2003 11:57:32 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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2 posted on 04/12/2003 11:58:50 AM PDT by Support Free Republic (Your support keeps Free Republic going strong!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Nice, very nice.

Shock and Awe at American victory

3 posted on 04/12/2003 12:02:28 PM PDT by WOSG (All Hail The Free Republic of Iraq! God Bless our Troops!)
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To: DoctorZIn
One axis down, two axes to go. Amazing they're both suddenly willing to talk with us. Imagine all this happening now, what with us having such a stupid person for president and all.


4 posted on 04/12/2003 12:02:40 PM PDT by savedbygrace
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To: DoctorZIn
We need to engage them. Insist on free democratic elections, and support those Iranians who are ready to topple the old, and put in the new (In otherwords, the Ayatollahs know the writing is on the wall in more ways than one.)

The Ayatollah's just may LIVE that way. Self preservation is a powerful tool.
5 posted on 04/12/2003 12:07:17 PM PDT by Vets_Husband_and_Wife ("CNN - WE report WHEN WE decide.")
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To: savedbygrace
what with us having such a stupid person for president and all.

AND, NOT having a plan!!
6 posted on 04/12/2003 12:08:17 PM PDT by olinr
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To: savedbygrace
One axis down, two three axes to go

Syria, Iran, N. Korea, Iraq

7 posted on 04/12/2003 12:09:40 PM PDT by antaresequity (...)
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To: olinr
Worse than that, a FAILED plan. And him being so blood-thirsty and war-mongering. North Korea and Iran wanting to talk right now must just be a coincidence.
8 posted on 04/12/2003 12:12:27 PM PDT by savedbygrace
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To: DoctorZIn
"The article is by a pro US Iranian news service.
It appears the pressure is on the Iranian leadership."

The other intpretation, given the source, is that this is simply wishfull thinking, and an attempt to put words in the mouth of the Iranian administration, thereby makeing it necessary for them to come out and make denials.

It would seem to me that pride alone would make them hold off makeing such policy reversals this soon on the heals of the (as yet to be finalized) coalition victory. Especially in light of the fact that sabers are being ratteled toward Damascas and not toward Tehran.

Still, with US troups to the east and west, and US Navy to the south, the time to play kiss-and-make-up would seem to be at hand. I am just highly suspicious that such a mundamentalist Muslimist regiem would have the precience to see the writing on the wall.
9 posted on 04/12/2003 12:16:12 PM PDT by konaice
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To: Vets_Husband_and_Wife
Hah! Engaging Iranian mullahs? There are more true believers in Iran than we found in Iraq. They will not go quietly.
10 posted on 04/12/2003 12:16:39 PM PDT by witnesstothefall
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Comment #11 Removed by Moderator

To: savedbygrace
Another quagmire
12 posted on 04/12/2003 12:17:38 PM PDT by spokeshave ( against dead wood (albore) Frogs & Rats)
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To: DoctorZIn
Nah, sorry, it's endgame.

The Islamist & Arabist governments are all about to fall.

13 posted on 04/12/2003 12:19:18 PM PDT by angkor
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To: DoctorZIn
Normalization in return for what??
Methinks this would require them to stop the exportation of Islamofascism, subject to inspection by the US (not UN).
14 posted on 04/12/2003 12:21:06 PM PDT by Rightwing Conspiratr1
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To: freedom44
What's your take on this?
15 posted on 04/12/2003 12:22:17 PM PDT by dixiechick2000
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To: DoctorZIn
The power of victory and G.W. ... First N. Korea and now Iran!
16 posted on 04/12/2003 12:22:40 PM PDT by rs79bm
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To: angkor
Tee hee. ;-P
17 posted on 04/12/2003 12:24:35 PM PDT by mtbopfuyn
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To: dixiechick2000
The vast majority are not just interested in normalization with the US. They want a free, secular and demrocratic government. The Iranian people can see this for waht it is. An attempt to forestall the inevitable.
18 posted on 04/12/2003 12:24:50 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: Rightwing Conspiratr1
looks like we have n.korea caving now iran.
dashale et al are very saddened, concerned,
and troubled go "w"
19 posted on 04/12/2003 12:26:35 PM PDT by coors lite
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To: witnesstothefall
I don't think America is the ONLY one who KNOWS that Iran is very fluid and ready to IMPLODE.

The Ayatollahs are not suicidal. Like I said, self preservation is a strong emotion. Them reaching out for dialogue isn't by chance.

20 posted on 04/12/2003 12:29:19 PM PDT by Vets_Husband_and_Wife ("CNN - WE report WHEN WE decide.")
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