hojatolislam aa hashemi rafsanjani

Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani

Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (Persian:اکبر هاشمی رفسنجانی Akbar Hāshemī Rafsanjānī), Hashemi Bahramani (هاشمی بهرمانی) born on February 15, 1934, is an influential Iranian politician, and in September 2007 was elected to the post of Chairman of the Assembly of Experts and of the Expediency Council of Iran.

He served as President of Iran from 1989 to 1997. He later ran again for a third term in office, losing on the second ballot to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the 2005 election. Rafsanjani is currently the Chairman of the Expediency Discernment Council, that resolves legislative issues between the Majlis and the Council of Guardians.

Rafsanjani is heavily associated with the Iranian business class and like his constituency he is hostile to Ahmandinejad and the more ideological tendency in the Islamic Republic. Rafsanjani is best described as a pragmatic conservative, who supports a centrist position domestically and a moderate position internationally, seeking to avoid conflict with the United States.

Early life

He was born in the village of Bahraman near the city of Rafsanjan in Kerman Province to a poor family of pistachio farmers.

In 1948, when Rafsanjani was fourteen years old, his parents sent him to the Shia "holy city" of Qom to enter seminary life. It was there that he began attending classes taught by Ruhollah Khomeini, under whom Rafsanjani studied Islamic law, ethics, and science. From this time forward, Rafsanjani became dedicated to Khomeini's cause, whose aim was to establish a constitutional theocracy, and soon became a major figure in his circle.

Prior to the Iranian Revolution, Rafsanjani had been jailed five times over a period of fifteen years from 1964 to 1979 for subversive activities against the Imperial government.

Islamic Revolution

Together with Mohammad Javad Bahonar, Mohammad Beheshti, Morteza Motahhari, and Abdolkarim Mousavi Ardebili, he became a key member of Iran's Revolutionary Council at the beginning of the new Islamic Republic, and became the first speaker of the Majlis of Iran , new Parliament, serving until 1989.

He was one of the main figures in the Iran contra scandal but Khomeini issued a command banning any investigation about him .

Rafsanjani was a founding member of the Islamic Republic Party, established soon after the Iranian Revolution in 1979. The party advocated the establishment of a theocratic Islamic state, in contrast to the secularism of the Provisional Revolutionary Government.

Presidency

Rafsanjani served as President of Iran from August 17, 1989 to 1997, and was the first President of Iran to step down officially, having completed his term in office. Of his predecessors, Abolhassan Banisadr was successfully impeached, Mohammad Ali Rajai was assassinated. Until the election of Rafsanjani, Ali Khamenei was both the President and Supreme Leader, and officially stepped down as President of Iran, about two month prior to completing of his presidential term.

Domestic policy

Rafsanjani advocated a free market economy. With the state's coffers full, Rafsanjani pursued an economic liberalisation policy. Rafsanjani's support for a deal with America over Iran's nuclear programme and his free-market economic policies contrasted with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his allies, who advocate showing the West no quarter while pursuing a course of budget-busting state handouts in the face of repeated warnings of future economic problems.

He urged universities to cooperate with industries. Turning to the quick pace of developments in today's world, he said that with "the world constantly changing, we should adjust ourselves to the conditions of our lifetime and make decisions according to present circumstances.

Among the projects he initiated are Azad University.

During his administration inflation hit a staggering record high of 49%.

Foreign policy

He attempted to forge good relations with Arab countries and countries in Central Asia including Azerbaijan , Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan . However relations with European countries and the US remained poor. Though, Rafsanjani has a track record of handling difficult situations and defusing crises.

He condemned both the United States and Iraq during the Persian Gulf War in 1991. After the war he strove to renew close ties with the West, although he refused to lift Khomeini's fatwa against the British author Salman Rushdie.

Former Iranian president Rafsanjani has said that Iran is ready to assist Iraq "expecting nothing in return". On the other hand, he has said that "peace and stability" is a function of the "evacuation of the occupiers.

Rafsanjani voiced support to Prince Abdullah's peace initiative and to "everything the Palestinians agree to". He was also clear that Iran's international interests must take precedence over those of Iranian allies in Syria and Lebanon.

Currency crisis

During 1990-5, Rafsanjani's administration faced the brunt of the second-generation US economic sanctions. He failed to arrest the Iranian Rial plunging 80 per cent in value from 415 to 2,046 to the US Dollar triggering the rise of the modern underground and barter economic networks.

After presidency

In 2000, in the first election after the end of his presidency, Rafsanjani ran again for Parliament but was not among the 30 representatives of Tehran elected, as announced by the Iranian Ministry of the Interior. The Council of Guardians then ruled numerous ballots void and were able to get him elected as the 30th representative. Rafsanjani thus became a Member of Parliament once more, but resigned before being sworn in as an MP. He explained that he felt he was "able to serve the people better in other posts".

Rafsanjani is currently the Chairman of the Expediency Discernment Council, that resolves legislative issues between the Majlis and the Council of Guardians.

In December 2006, Rafsanjani was elected to the Assembly of Experts representing Tehran with more than 1.5 million votes, which was more than any other candidate. Ahmadinejad opponents won majority of local election seats.

On September 4, 2007 he was elected chairman of the Assembly of Experts, the body that selects Iran's supreme leader, in what is considered a blow to the partisans of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Political parties

Although he has been a member of the pragmatic-conservative Combatant Clergy Association, he has a close bond to the reformist Kargozaran party. He has been seen as flip-flopping between conservative and reformist camps since the election of Mohammad Khatami, supporting reformers in that election, but going back to the conservative camp in the 2000 parliamentary elections as a result of the reformist party severely criticizing and refusing to accept him as their candidate. Reformists including Akbar Ganji accused him of involvement in murdering dissidents and writers during his presidency. In the end the major differences between the Kargozaran and the reformists party weakened both and eventually resulted in their loss at the presidential elections in 2005. However Rafsanjani has regained close ties with the reformers since he lost the 2005 presidential elections to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

After his loss at the presidential elections in 2005, a growing tension between him and President Ahmadinejad arose. Rafsanjani has criticized President Ahmadinejad's administration several times for conducting a purge of government officials , slow move towards privatization and recently hostile foreign policy in particular the atomic energy policy . In return Ahmadinejad has fought back that Rafsanjani failed to differentiate privatization with the corrupt takeover of government-owned companies and of foreign policies which led to sanctions against Iran in 1995 and 1996.. He also implicitly denounced Rafsanjani and his followers by calling those who criticize his nuclear program as "traitors" .

Accusations of involvement in assassinations and bombings

In 1997, a German court convicted two men of murder in the 1992 Mykonos restaurant assassinations of Sadiq Sharafkindi, an Iranian-Kurdish leader, as well as three of his associates, and convicted two others of being accessories to the crimes. Presiding Judge Frithjof Kubsch said the men had no personal motive but were following orders. Without naming names, Kubsch said the gangland-style murders had been ordered by Iran's Committee for Special Operations, to which Iran's President and spiritual leader belonged. Prosecutors had contended that Iran's powerful spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani had personally ordered the killings.

On 25 October 2006, a team of Argentine prosecutors formally charged Iran and Shi'a militia Hezbollah with the 1994 AMIA Bombing in Buenos Aires, accusing the Iranian authorities of directing Hezbollah to carry out that attack and calling for the arrest of Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and seven others. This incident has put Ahmadinejad's government in the awkward position of defending Rafsanjani, whom they oppose for corruption and being pro-Western. Therefore, this event was seen as a positive development for Rafsanjani during his successful campaign for election as a member of the Assembly of Experts in December 2006.

Personal life

He was born in the village of Bahraman near the city of Rafsanjan in Kerman Province to a poor family of pistachio farmers. He has eight other siblings..

From a marriage to Effat Mar'ashi in 1958, Rafsanjani has three sons: Mohsen, Mehdi, and Yasser, as well as two daughters, Fatemeh and Faezeh. Only Faezeh Hashemi chose a political life, which led to her becoming a Majlis representative and then the publisher of the newspaper Zan.

Many believe the Rafsanjani family to be the richest man in Iran due to his deep involvement in various Iranian industries, including the oil industry, as well as his ownership of many properties throughout the country. There have also been allegations that some of his wealth has also come from arms deals made after the Revolution.

Rafsanjani has authored a few books, one of the most important being a book on Amir Kabir titled Amir Kabir; the Hero of Fighting against Imperialism. He is also gradually publishing his multi-volume memoir titled Towards Destiny. The seventh volume of his memoirs, in which he writes that Ayatollah Khomeini had approved the proposal to omit the rallying cry "Death to America," was banned and collected from bookstores a few days after its publication.

In 1997, his son Mehdi Hashemi Rafsanjani, the head of state-owned Gaz Iran Company, has reportedly received a €60,000,000 ($80,000,000) bribe from Total oil company, in order for Total to get a favorable contract in PSEEZ gas fields.

The bribery which has recently come to public attention, has been denied by Mehdi Hashemi Rafsanjani , and he has threatened the newspapers that he will legally prosecute those which publish this incident. The CEO of Total, Christophe de Margerie, is currently under investigation in France with regards to this incident but Mehdi Hashemi Rafsanjani is living in Iran due his father's power in this country.

Forbes magazine at one time listed Rafsanjani in their list of richest people in the world and has written that as the real power behind the Iranian government, he "has more or less run the Islamic Republic for the past 24 years." His wealth has earned him the infamous nickname of Akbar Shah in Iran.

Androgenic alopecia

Although Ayatollahs are not permitted to shave their beards, Rafsanjani's condition of Androgenic alopecia has not permitted Rafsanjani to grow much facial hair. This has become the butt of many jokes, satire and comedy around Iran along with his background of pistachio farming. Although Khamenei issued a decree banning jokes around this and his background, he still continues to be joked about throughout Iran.

Quotes

  • If one day, the Islamic world is also equipped with weapons like those that Israel possesses now, then the imperialists' strategy will reach a standstill because the use of even one nuclear bomb inside Israel will destroy everything. However, it will only harm the Islamic world. It is not irrational to contemplate such an eventuality. (December 2001)
  • If the Americans attack Iran, the world will change. …They will not dare to make such a mistake (2004)
  • We are not bothering anyone, but we have acquired nuclear expertise and we want to benefit from it to improve our life.
  • You need diplomacy and not slogans. This is the place for wisdom, the place for seeking windows that will take you to the objective. (2005)
  • We want all the Palestinians back in their homeland, and then there can be a fair referendum for people to choose the form of state they want. Whoever gets the majority can rule. (2005)
  • There is no doubt that America is a superpower of the world and we cannot ignore them. I think that Americans should gradually begin to adopt positive behavior rather than doing evil. They should not expect an immediate reaction in return for their positive measures. It will take time.
  • I believe the main solution [referring to the nuclear issue] is to gain the trust of Europe and America and to remove their concerns over the peaceful nature of our nuclear industry and to assure them that there will never be a diversion to military use.
  • ''Europe resolved a great problem – the problem of the Zionist danger. The Zionists, who constituted a strong political party in Europe, caused much disorder there. Since they had a lot of property and controlled an empire of propaganda, they made the European governments helpless. What Hitler and the German Nazis did to the Jews of Europe at that time was partly due to these circumstances with the Jews. They wanted to expel the Zionists from Europe because they always were a pain in the neck for the governments there. This is how this calamity fell upon the Muslims, especially the Palestinians, and you all know this history, more or less.[...]The first goal was to save Europe from the evil of Zionism, and in this, they have been relatively successful.

References

See also

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