Raf-cartoon

by Chris Bodenner

The NYT analyzes Rafsanjani's speech and puts the man in greater context:

He was also essentially usurping the institutional role of Ayatollah Khamenei. [...] Still, it would be wrong to say that Mr. Rafsanjani has suddenly become a proponent of justice, human rights and freedom. In the summer of 1999, after all, when the government crushed student demonstrations at Tehran University, he delivered a harsh sermon in the same place as he did on Friday. Back then, he blamed “enemies of the revolution” and “sources outside the country” for the unrest. He praised the use of force by the state.

During much of his earlier eight-year presidency, many Iranians were executed, including political dissidents, drug offenders, Communists, Kurds, Bahais, even clerics.

Still, he's a good powerful pragmatist to have on the side of reform right now.

(Cartoon caption: "Rafsanjani has gotten a new green aba and the tailor is saying: 'congratulations.'")

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