Nevertheless, he was compelled to admit to Khamenei's lack of religious qualifications, noting: "It is not necessary for Khamenei to be the Marja' (source of emulation). The Imam [Khomeini] has separated the leadership from being a Marja'." Going even further, Rafsanjani underscored Khamenei's lack of religious knowledge and said that if the mullahs' leader were to express a religious view, he would have to "study all faculties of the fiqh (jurisprudence) and this is impossible in a short period of time."
Commenting on Rafsanjani's remarks yesterday, Mr. Massoud Rajavi, President of the National Council of Resistance, said: Rafsanjani has been one the regime's principal figures in the past 19 years. By stating his strong support for the principle of the velayat-e faqih, confirming Khamenei for this position and approving his criminal actions in the last eight years, Rafsanjani affirmed that the clerical regime was not prone to change.
Mr. Rajavi added: As the Iranian Resistance had declared from the outset, this religious, terrorist dictatorship lacks the capacity to change. A viper never gives birth to a dove. Any change would mean the destruction of the regime altogether. In the past two weeks, the mullahs' president, Khatami has repeatedly stated his support for Khamenei and his leadership.
The NCR President said: At the same time, the rejection of Khamenei's religious authority, already underlined by mullah Ali Meshkini, the head of the Assembly of Experts, and reaffirmed unequivocally by Rafsanjani yesterday, will further erode the religious foundations of the regime and undermine its very existence.
Mullah Meshkini has always been among Khamenei's backers. During Friday prayers in the city of Qom last week, however, he criticized the attacks on Montazeri's house and stated that Khamenei was qualified as a leader but not as a Marja'.
In his sermon yesterday, Rafsanjani repeatedly admitted to widespread opposition among the clergy and the regime's various factions to the velayat-e faqih and Khamenei.
Mr. Rajavi described Rafsanjani's remarks as testament to the regime's increasing weakness and isolation and to the irreversible power struggle among the mullahs. He said: Neither Rafsanjani's support for Khamenei, nor Khamenei's threats against Montazeri and dissident clergymen, can alleviate the regime's crises. The crises will further aggravate, just as the shah's schemes in the final months of his rule only expedited the overthrow of his regime.
Addressing those in Iran and abroad who have pinned their hopes on the moderation or survival of the clerical regime, the NCR President said: Any form of political or economic investment in this regime is doomed to fail.
Referring to the escalation of popular uprisings nationwide, Mr. Rajavi added: The recent developments have expedited the inevitable overthrow of the mullahs' regime by the National Liberation Army of Iran with the backing of the people across the country.
Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
November 29, 1997