• Iran website releases audio of “Rafsanjani’s controversial remarks” on Syria

    An Iranian news website has released video and audio of what it said were recent controversial statements by former President Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani on chemical attacks in Syria.

    The conservative website Blogh News on 2 September released a one-minute-long video of what it said was Rafsanjani’s speech in the northern town of Shirgah in Mazandaran Province at a ceremony marking the anniversary of the death of Ayatollah Salehi-Mazandarani on 31 August.

    “The Syrian people have suffered much during the past two years. More than 100,000 were killed and seven to eight million have become displaced. Prisons are overflowing with people and they have turned stadiums into prisons. On the one hand the people have suffered a chemical attack by their own government. On the other, they have to await for US bombs today,” the voice, which resembled Hashemi-Rafsanjani’s, said in the video.

    The video, which was apparently made by a mobile phone, purportedly shows Rafsanjani delivering a speech to people from a podium. (www.bloghnews.com/news/21183). It is dated 31 August.

    Rafsanjani’s remarks led to controversy in the Iranian media on 2 September. Iran’s Foreign Ministry said the comments by Rafsanjani had been “distorted” by the media.

    Iranian Labour News Agency, which had carried Rafsanjani’s statements on the alleged chemical attack on 1 September, later removed the controversial section of the report from its website. (For more details see: “Remarks by Iran’s ex-president on Syria trigger debates among officials”, BBC Monitoring, 2 September 13)

    The official Iranian line is that it was the rebels who carried out a chemical attack on a Damascus suburb last month.

    Source: Iranian news website Blogh News in Persian 1545 gmt 2 Sep 13