In two speeches in as many weeks – one on March 30, 2016 marking a Shi’ite religious holiday and the other on March 20, marking Norooz, the Persian New Year – Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei focused on attacking his main political rivals – Iranian President Hassan Rohani, and Expediency Council chairman Hashemi Rafsanjani, the leaders of the Iranian pragmatic camp.
Khamenei’s Holiday Address, March 30
In his March 30 address, Khamenei called his old foe Rafsanjani “a traitor” for his March 24 tweet stating that “the world of tomorrow is a world of talks, and not of missiles.” Khamenei said that Iran cannot give up its missile capabilities, and termed this call to do so a plot by the Western enemy, headed by the U.S., which seeks to destroy Iran’s Islamic regime. Khamenei’s statements were along the same lines as his criticism of Rafsanjani prior to the February 26, 2016 Majlis and Assembly of Experts elections, i.e. that Rafsanjani was trying to sell the U.S. to Iran. Continue reading