Leaked Video Embarrasses Iran’s Khamenei, Implicates Rafsanjani

Iran's supreme leader Ali Khamenei (R) speaks with former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani during a meeting in Tehran. (AFP)
Iran's supreme leader Ali Khamenei (R) speaks with former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani during a meeting in Tehran. (AFP)
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Leaked Video Embarrasses Iran’s Khamenei, Implicates Rafsanjani

Iran's supreme leader Ali Khamenei (R) speaks with former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani during a meeting in Tehran. (AFP)
Iran's supreme leader Ali Khamenei (R) speaks with former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani during a meeting in Tehran. (AFP)

A new leaked video released for the first time on Tuesday revealed circumstances surrounding the election of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei as Rouhollah Khomeini’s successor and the large role that late President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani played in this regard.

The 20-minute recording disclosed details of an emergency closed-door session of the Assembly of Experts a few hours after the death of the supreme leader on June 3, 1989.

Khamenei appears in the video as refusing to be nominated as Khomeini’s successor, saying he was not qualified for the leadership of Iran.

“First of all, we should shed tears of blood wailing for the Islamic society that has been forced to even propose me,” he was seen in the video as saying.

However, Rafsanjani, who headed the secret session, was determined to nominate Khamenei as Khomeini’s the successor.

The Assembly of Experts then voted on Khamenei’s nomination despite his objection that he was not legally qualified for the position.

This is the first time that evidences proves that Khamenei lacks the needed qualifications to head the “Wilayat al-Faqih”.

The timing of the video’s release, 28 years after Khomeini’s death, comes at a time of widespread anti-government protests in Iran that have demanded over the past two weeks the departure of Khamenei.

The timing also coincides with the first annual anniversary of the death of Rafsanjani, who is considered as a reference to the reformist and moderate movement in Iran, represented by current President Hassan Rouhani.

US-based Iranian journalist Shahed Alawi released the video. He told media outlets that he posted it on social media after making sure it was accurate, refusing to uncover the identity of the party who provided him with the recording.



Ukraine Summit Attracts World Leaders, Fails to Isolate Russia

This photograph shows a sign representing Ukraine on the bank of Lake Lucerne in Lucerne, on June 14, 2024, ahead of a Ukraine peace summit on June 15-16, 2024.
This photograph shows a sign representing Ukraine on the bank of Lake Lucerne in Lucerne, on June 14, 2024, ahead of a Ukraine peace summit on June 15-16, 2024.
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Ukraine Summit Attracts World Leaders, Fails to Isolate Russia

This photograph shows a sign representing Ukraine on the bank of Lake Lucerne in Lucerne, on June 14, 2024, ahead of a Ukraine peace summit on June 15-16, 2024.
This photograph shows a sign representing Ukraine on the bank of Lake Lucerne in Lucerne, on June 14, 2024, ahead of a Ukraine peace summit on June 15-16, 2024.

World leaders will join Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy at a summit this weekend to explore ways of ending the deadliest conflict in Europe since World War Two, but Russia isn't invited and the event will fall short of Kyiv's aim of isolating Moscow.

US Vice President Kamala Harris, French President Emmanuel Macron and the leaders of Germany, Italy, Britain, Canada and Japan are among those set to attend the June 15-16 meeting at the Swiss mountaintop resort of Buergenstock.

India, which has helped Moscow survive the shock of economic sanctions, is expected to send a delegation. Turkey and Hungary, which similarly maintain cordial ties with Russia, will be represented by their foreign ministers.

But despite months of intense Ukrainian and Swiss lobbying, some others will not be there, most notably China, a key consumer of Russian oil and supplier of goods that help Moscow maintain its manufacturing base.

"This meeting is already a result," Zelenskiy said in Berlin on Tuesday, while acknowledging the challenge of maintaining international support as the war, now well into its third year, grinds on.

Ninety-two countries and eight organizations will attend, Switzerland said. Organizers preparing a joint statement have battled to strike a balance between condemning Russia's actions and securing as many participants as possible, diplomats say.

A final draft of the summit declaration refers to Russia's "war" against Ukraine, and also underlines commitment to the UN charter and respect for international law, according to two people familiar with the document.

Participants not in agreement with the declaration have until the end of Friday to opt out, the sources said.

The Swiss foreign ministry declined to comment.

Switzerland wants the summit to pave the way for a "future peace process" in which Russia takes part - and to determine which country could take on the next phase.

'FUTILE'

The idea of a summit was originally floated after Zelenskiy presented a 10-point peace plan in late 2022.

Ulrich Schmid, a political scientist and Eastern Europe expert at the University of St. Gallen, said the summit appeared to be "a mixed bag" so far, given the show of support from some quarters and China's absence.

"Then the question arises: is peace actually doable?" Schmid added. "As long as (Russian President Vladimir) Putin is in power... it will be difficult."

Putin said on Friday that Russia would cease fire and enter peace talks if Ukraine dropped its NATO ambitions and withdrew its forces from four Ukrainian regions claimed by Moscow. Kyiv has repeatedly said its territorial integrity is non-negotiable.

Russia, which sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, has described the idea of a summit to which it is not invited as "futile".

Moscow casts its "special military operation" in Ukraine as part of a broader struggle with the West, which it says wants to bring Russia to its knees. Kyiv and the West say this is nonsense and accuse Russia of waging an illegal war of conquest.

Given such entrenched differences, the summit will focus on parts of Zelenskiy's plan broad enough to be palatable to most, if not all, participants. These include the need to guarantee food security, nuclear safety, freedom of navigation, prisoner exchanges, and the return of children, officials said.

Meanwhile, China, along with Brazil, is pushing a separate peace plan for Ukraine that calls for the participation of both warring parties. Moscow has voiced its support for Beijing's efforts to end the conflict.

Kyiv has not hidden its frustration at China's decision to skip the Swiss summit. Zelenskiy even accused Beijing of helping Russia to disrupt it, an extraordinary outburst against a global superpower with unrivalled influence over Moscow.

On the battlefield, the gathering comes at a difficult time for Ukraine. Russian troops, who control around 18% of Ukrainian territory, are advancing in the east in a war that has killed tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians, left villages, towns and cities in ruins and uprooted millions.