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Rouhani and Khamenei Camps Battle Sternly | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei waves to the crowd in Qom, 120 km (75 miles) south of Tehran, October 19, 2010, Reuters

London- Conflict fever spread across all corners of the Iranian administration, forcing the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to cancel his international trips, so that he could stay in Tehran to back his ally Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

Rafsanjani has been the subject of a fierce campaign from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) that receives unquestionable support of the Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Recent criticisms flooded Rafsanjani days after the IRGC’s ballistic missile maneuvers on March 9, which also included the trial launching nuclear deterrent capacitated missile carriers.

A source close to the matter told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that Rafsanjani’s criticisms were caused by his previous clear knowledge that the IRGC ballistic missile program is an attempt to vandalize the nuclear diplomatic efforts of President Rouhani with the United States of America.

Rafsanjani tweeted on the subject saying that the future is drawn with discussions, not missiles. Later on, Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei, in his March 30 speech, said that the missiles and not the discussions are the key to Iran’s future. In a clear reference to Rafsanjani’s former tweet, Khamenei sent out an undertone without mentioning names, saying that anyone suggesting otherwise either is “an ignorant person or a traitor”.

The source then pointed out that the IRGC has been given a full on green light from the Supreme Leader to pressure Rafasnjani who leads a Rouhani supporting web. Attacking Rafasanjani aims at weakening Rouhani’s position.

“These events were expected, given that Khamenei needed Rouhani to negotiate with the U.S. on the nuclear deal and get rid of the sanctions, which always posed a threat to Iran’s economy. After concluding the nuclear deal, Khamenei no longer needs for Rouhani. Yet, instead of attacking Rouhani directly, Khamenei aims for the leader of Rouhani’s group, who is Rafsanjani,” the source said.

“This is why Rouhani has chosen to stay in Tehran, canceling his trip outside, to defend his allies,” the source added.

Iranian media outlets continued to cast several predictions over Rafsanjani’s fate after the escalations between him and Khamenei. Some suggest that the IRGC will soon impose a comprehensive besiegement on Rafsanjani, the way the corps previously held in custody Green Movement reformist leaders Mir-HosseinMousavi and Mehdi Karroubi.