Tension builds in Iran ahead of Rafsanjani’s Friday sermon

July 17th, 2009 - 3:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Tehran, July 17 (IANS) Iran’s intelligence minister has warned worshippers against potential unrest during the address by the reformist cleric Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani Friday, media reports said Friday.
Rafsanjani, who has backed presidential contender Mir-Hossein Mousavi, could add fuel to the opposition protests, Gholamhossein Mohseni-Eje’i said Thursday, while calling on worshippers to remain “vigilant so that the Friday prayers do not turn into a scene of undesirable events”, Fars news agency reported.

The minister however said that security arrangements have been put in place in the capital to prevent any untoward incidents.

Rafsanjani, the chairman of Iran’s Expediency Council, will lead the Friday prayers after weeks of absence since the disputed June 12 elections that saw incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad winning with over 62 percent of the votes.

His main challenger Mousavi received only 33 percent of votes, which he attributed to electoral fraud carried out by the interior ministry.

Supporters of Mausavi and other opposition leaders are believed to be planning to take part in the prayers en masse, as Mousavi has already announced his participation in Friday prayers, posing a threat of fresh violence in the country.

At least 24 people were killed and several others injured during the month-long demonstrations following the elections. Hundreds of demonstrators have been jailed in the subsequent violent crackdown by Iranian security forces.

Meanwhile, Iran’s Guardian Council, the most influential body currently dominated by conservatives, has published a “detailed report” on the country’s disputed presidential election, showing how complaints about the results were dealt with.

Earlier in July, the council’s Spokesman Abbas-Ali Kadkhodei had announced that the report would be published to resolve any ambiguities that some people may say were surrounding the election process.

In order to “thwart the plots” and to “promote unity” the report on the election is published for the first time, the council said in a preface, which confirmed that the results were authentic, Press TV reported.

Many believe that Rafsanjani’s long-awaited sermon could pour water on the ongoing fire of protests or add more fuel to the dispute in the wake of the election results confirmed by the Guardian Council.

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