Opposition website Jaras, which is run by a figure close to Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, has published parts of Rafsanjani’s first statements since his surprising disqualification by the Guardian Council from running for the presidency. Although Rafsanjani doesn’t mention anyone by name, he has had issues with hard-line policies of both Khamenei’s advisers and Sepah (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) who have increased their influence and presence in state affairs in the last decade or so.
Rafsanjani, who was addressing his campaign staff today afternoon, said that “I went to the Supreme Leader and told him that I won’t become a candidate if you have someone you prefer.”
Rafsanjani addressed the response to speculation about his running. “I said ‘I didn’t say I’m not running’ and that’s when they started gathering an army [against me]. But that’s also when a flood of letters started coming from Qom, Najaf, and Mashhad (major Shia centers) for my candidacy. How could I be so obstinate to say ‘No,’ especially to the youth?”