[In a meeting with students, Hassan Rouhani is asked to explain his reactions to Ayatollah Montazeri’s house arrest. He claims to have been the one who played the main role in removing that house arrest.]
THE STUDENT asks Rouhani about Montazeri’s house arrest: During the time when you were the secretary of Supreme Council of National Security, Ayatollah Montazeri was put under house arrest. What did you do at that time? What will you do for the current house arrests, whose instances are very clear.
HASSAN ROUHANI explains his role as secretary of Supreme Council of National Security: First of all, secretary of Supreme Council of National Security is not the head of the council. Its head is the president. And at that time, Mr. Khatami was the president and head of Supreme Council of National Security. And as you know, the secretary of Supreme Council of National Security is not a member of the council, but, as representative of the leader in Supreme Council of National Security, he has only one vote out of ten in some cases. In some other cases, the number of votes is more than ten, and, in those cases, it is just one vote out of 11 or 12 votes.
HASSAN ROUHANI explains his own role in removing the house arrest: But as for Ayatollah Montazeri that you mentioned, it was I who, for more than a year and a half, held numerous meetings in Supreme Council of National Security and made the necessary coordination among all branches for removing the house arrest. Well, you know that removing the house arrest…. What I emphasized on in my general talk was that the president must have the power to create consensus. In the case of house arrest, I tried hard and created this consensus. The president must create the consensus, accept the responsibility and take action. And you know that removing the house arrest was with my letter from the secretariat….
THE STUDENT asks again: What year did Mr. Montazeri’s house arrest come to an end? What year was it? In so far as I remember, his house arrest was removed during Mr. Ahmadinejad’s.
HASSAN ROUHANI makes further clarifications: You are making a strange historical mistake. No. During Ahmadinejad’s, Ayatollah Montazeri passed away. It was during Mr. Khatami’s presidency that the house arrest was removed. The house arrest was removed with my letter. And it was through the secretariat of Supreme Council of National Security. And it took more than a year for us to create the consensus and remove the house arrest. Therefore, in the case of Ayatollah Montazeri, you owe me.
HASSAN ROUHANI receives a note as to date of removing house arrest: Also, they gave me a note, which says that Ayatollah Montazeri’s house arrest was removed in 21 January 2003. And, therefore, it was during Mr. Khatami’s government. And as I said, it was at that time that I prepared those conclusive evidences, made the necessary coordination with all branches, and removed this house arrest in 2003.