Rafsanjani said the raging power struggle "has been destroying our morale, dealing blows to the proud achievements of our country and especially our revolution." He said the rival factions' exposure and counter-exposure of each others' crimes in the run-up to the Majlis elections "are tantamount to questioning the revolution's past and amount to a very, very big treason."
"To kill the self-confidence is worse than being stricken with cholera, plague and AIDS," Rafsanjani said. "This breaks man's resistance. It does to man what AIDS does to other people. That's what they're doing."
As the clerics' internal strife has heightened, Rafsanjani has come under increasing attacks by his rivals in recent days, with some of his crimes, including his role in the continuation of the Iran-Iraq war, serial murder of dissidents and intellectuals, and export of terrorism coming under the spotlight. Sobhe Emrouz daily wrote on January 19 that Rafsanjani must be made accountable for "prolonging the war which resulted in the martyrdom of hundreds of thousands of the best children of this country" and "serial murders."
Rafsanjani shrugged off such attacks in yesterday's sermon: "Whose interests do we serve when we portray the eight-year holy jihad (war with Iraq) as a catastrophe for our society and a weakness of the revolution?" Rafsanjani referred to the responsibility and role of all the factions of the regime in the continuation of the unpatriotic, devastating war with Iraq and said: "Is it fair that our own newspapers now write: who must be held accountable for those who died?"
The flurry of attacks on Rafsanjani and the deep schism and squabbling in Khatami's camp over Rafsanjani's nomination in the Majlis elections indicate the depth of the mullahs' internal strife in the run-up to the elections. They show that Khatami and his faction have become increasingly weakened. Whatever the results of the election farce and no matter which faction gains the upper hand, the ruling religious dictatorship as a whole will emerge from this more weakened, more vulnerable and more prone to being overthrown.
Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
January 22, 2000