Friday, April 08, 2005

Rafsanjani pays tribute to Pope, condemns US

The Peninsula On-line: Qatar's leading English Daily: "Rafsanjani pays tribute to pope, condemns US
Web posted at: 4/9/2005 3:14:19
Source ::: Agencies
TEHRAN: Iran’s former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani paid homage to Pope John Paul II during Friday prayers in Tehran and urged the Vatican to recall the pontiff’s ideal of Christianity which, he said, was being betrayed by the United States.

“His actions in favour of peace, his opposition to war-in particularly the war in Iraq-the denunciation of American crimes at Abu Ghraib prison conferred on John Paul II a greater international stature than that of his predecessors,” said Rafsanjani, one of Iran’s most influential personalities.

The former president, widely expected to stand again in Iran’s June presidential election, heads the Expediency Council-Iran’s top political arbitration body.

Rafsanjani also recalled the pontiff’s opposition to “heretical ideologies, communism and Marxism.”

The cleric, in his sermon to thousands of the faithful and broadcast on state radio, offered his condolences to the Christian world on the death of the pope, adding: “Christianity and the Vatican would do well to recall these lessons.”

He said: “The precepts of Christ have disappeared from the Christian world.” Rafsanjani, whose country was described as part of the “axis of evil” and alleged by US President George W Bush to support terrorism, charged: “In the name of the struggle against terrorism, (Americans) commit numerous crimes across the world. They impose (themselves) by force in international institutions and pillage the wealth of other peoples.”

Referring to Iran’s nuclear power programme, which Washington claims is a cover for atomic weapons development, Rafsanjani said Tehran rejected the double standards inherent in US objections.

“I have said several times to the Americans and Europeans that to deprive a people of its internationally recognised rights and practise discrimination and a double-standard policy against it, (are) two measures that would create an unspeakable precedent.”

He added: “Look at China which wants to build 40 new nuclear power plants. Why should other countries not have the right to master this technology?”"

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