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Rafsanjani Withdraws from Tehran Friday Prayers | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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TEHRAN (AFP) – Powerful Iranian cleric and opposition supporter Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has decided not to lead Friday prayers this week to avoid “political abuse” of the event, an official said on Monday.

“This week’s Friday prayers were to be held by Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani,” said Reza Taghavi, the head of the coordinating body for Friday prayers, the Fars news agency reported.

“(But) we have been informed that he has decided to leave it to another prayer leader in order to prevent any political, unconventional and unacceptable abuse of the occasion.”

In his previous sermon in Tehran last month, Rafsanjani called for the release of detained election protesters and said the Islamic republic had been plunged into “crisis” since the June vote that returned President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power.