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Rafsanjani—on the threshold of opposition

One of Iran's most influential men now stands on the threshold of open opposition to its supreme leader

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It was one of the most crucial speeches in the life of a man who has been at the centre of Iranian politics since shortly after the tumultuous revolution of 1979. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, is no stranger to drama and upheaval, and this afternoon he signalled his readiness, in the face of the most serious civil protests revolutionary Iran has known, to use force to preserve the Islamic Republic he helped create.

The supreme leader’s sermon came a week into a crisis that has pitted one part of the…

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