Addressing Tehran's Friday prayers congregation, Rafsanjani said: "In these circumstances, tranquillity and security are more vital for us than bread and butter... It is not the time for us to feel comfortable to attack one another... and pull the rug from under each other's feet." Several times during his speech, Rafsanjani expressed concern, urging the rival factions to set their differences aside.
The regime's internal conflicts have escalated after the Assembly of Experts' elections and taken on new dimensions with Khatami's speech in Sharif Industrial University on December 7. A large number of students took advantage of the occasion and staged a march, chanting, "down with despotism," "free all political prisoners," "mullahs' parliament must be dissolved," and "head of Judiciary must resign." They demanded the overthrow of the clerical regime.
Since then the pro-Khamenei officials and press have launched a coordinated attack against Khatami. Describing Khatami's remarks as "insulting," Habibollah Asgar Oladi, Secretary General of the Allied Islamic Societies in the Bazaar, said: "It is unacceptable to see a group of people march on the streets and chant slogans against the law and the state's legal institutions." He accused Khatami of spending the government budget on the newspapers and parties which support his faction.
The pro-Khamenei Jomhouri Islami daily, underscored that Khatami has so far been unable to solve any specific economic problems. Addressing Khatami, the daily wrote: "The time for rhetoric and playing with words has past. It is time to be held accountable."
On December 9, the daily Ressalat warned of the policy of instigation and a conspiracy against the state. "Khatami has fallen from the position of a President to the position of a party leader," it wrote. The same day, Kayhan daily described the statements made by the students during the December 7 gathering at Sharif University as "a political statement against the values of Islam and the Revolution." The daily added, "In a speech or a television interview, Khatami must compensate for remarks which were far distanced from the principles of the revolution and the ideals of the Imam [Khomeini]."
Abdollah Nouri, Khatami's former Interior Minister described the situation as "dangerous and regrettable political confrontation," causing grave and dangerous concerns." He added: "Khatami has neither any power to provide security nor to maintain control over the state security and intelligence." "The Judiciary does not coordinate its activities with him, either," he said.
At the same time, Behzad Nabavi, a former minister close to Khatami, expressed fear at Mojahedin's operations and activities across the country. He said: "We are forced to drive around in 'bullet-proof cars.'"
In late October, NCR President Massoud Rajavi predicted that the attacks and counter-attacks of the regime's feuding factions will bear storms and crises after the Assembly of Experts' elections which will lead to the regime's overthrow. Khatami must either choose to submit to Khamenei and set aside his reformist rhetoric, or he will have to play the role of the head of the regime's internal opposition, Mr. Rajavi stressed. In either case, the regime will enter into a new phase towards its overthrow.
Yesterday, Rafsanjani emphasized that the regime will continue its nuclear and biological weapons program. He described human rights organizations as "hypocrite," "deceitful" "wolves who are devouring the world." In this way, he demonstrated that the regime is in dire need of domestic repression, build-up of weapons of mass destruction and export of terrorism.
Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
December 12, 1998