Don’t be fooled by the smiles. Everyone in Tehran’s political circles is buzzing about the awkward encounter Monday between President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, reportedly the first time the pair were under the same roof in months.
Photos from state news agencies show them exchanging pleasantries as others look on, with hints of trepidation on some faces. There’s still a sea of bad blood between these guys, and it wouldn’t be surprising if some sitting nearby stiffened up, fearing the worst. Rafsanjani (at far left in photo) and Ahmadinejad (front row, center), who by all accounts share mutual and extreme animosity, sat with just Sadegh Larijani separating them. The occasion was the inauguration of Larijani as the country’s new judiciary chief.Rafsanjani, who chairs the powerful Expediency Council and the Assembly of Experts, skipped Ahmadinejad’s inauguration this month and backed opposition figure Mir-Hossein Mousavi in the disputed June 12 presidential elections.