Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the former Iranian president and current head of the powerful Assembly of Experts, has called for the release of those jailed for protesting against the result of the recent presidential election.

In his first Friday sermon since the vote, he also said that many Iranians still doubted the result's legitimacy.

Outside, police fired tear gas at thousands of opposition supporters who were chanting slogans in support of Mir Hossein Mousavi, a defeated candidate.

Under the headline of a call for unity, Rafsanjani may have actually ensured that the divisions in Iran continue and even increase.

Inside Story asks whether Rafsanjani is playing his hand as a power broker or encouraging the opposition to continue their campaign under his leadership.

Presenter Soheil Rahman is joined by Sadegh Zibakalam, a professor of political science at the University of Tehran, Pol O' Geibheannaigh, a lecturer at the School of Oriental and African studies and an analyst on Middle Eastern affairs, and Abbas Edalat, a professor at Imperial College London and founder of the Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran.

This episode of Inside Story aired on Sunday, July 19, 2009.

Source: Al Jazeera