Speaking in a meeting with members of the Association for the Defense of Press Freedom on Sunday, Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani said "In today’s world, nothing can stop people from understanding. Effort to keep people in the dark is pointless.”
"The Freedom of press within the framework of the Constitution will not harm the country,” he asserted.
Pointing out the history of crimes committed by Islamic extremists, Hashemi said "Blind prejudice repeats anti-humanitarian crimes through history by justifying the murder of those with opposite taste.”
The ayatollah pointed out the Quran’s view about real religious devotion and outward compliance and stated "We cannot lead somebody’s mind with force. Nobody is made religious or will lose devotion by force.”
Hashemi further maintained that the freedom of press is intrinsic to human beings and said "Those who are afraid of the truth being told will censor the media.”
He also pointed to extremist actions in Islamic societies in recent years and said "Extremism has driven the Islamic awakening into destitution. It has transferred societies from the graveyard silence of the autocracy era into the graveyard commotion which is the constant massacre of people.”