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He's history
Hashemi Rafsanjani has lost respect

By Maryam Farahvashi in Tehran
February 23, 2000
The Iranian

Much has already been said regarding the "demise" of Mr Hashemi Rafsanjani. What has happened, of course, was no surprise to me at all. I had predicted it exactly as it happened. The only unknown premise was the amount of success he might have in influencing the vote in his favor through his old connections.

As things stand right now, Rafsanjani is still trying. He may eventually succeed because he has had twenty years of experience. So he may still get a seat in parliament and could even become its speaker. What is important here, however, is the fact that he has lost the little respect this nation still had for him due to the role he played in the revolution and his being close to the leader of the revolution.

Politically, he has always been very close to ultra-conservatives such as the Islamic Motalefeh group. He worked closely with them when he was president and practically helped them gain control of parliament, the judiciary, and most other institutions of power.

But by 1996 the Motalefeh became so strong and conceited that they decided to get rid of him as well, thinking that his role had been played out . They decided to put their own man in the presidential office and this was the only time Rafsanjani put up some resistance by helping to lower the amount of cheating in the last presidential elections. That was how the new president was elected, and we all owe this much to Rafsanjani, to be fair.

After the elections, however, he gradually drifted towards the Motalefeh and other rightist groups again; and when they felt the need for his services shortly before the present elections. This our people cannot forgive. This is especially so because most everybody believes that he was behind Abdollah Nouri's imprisonment -- a man who would most probably have received the highest votes and became parliament speaker had he been permitted to participate in the elections.

Economically, Rafsanjani is the man who brought Iran under heavy foreign debt, something many believe to be a national humiliation. He argued that he was going to use the money to rapidly industrialize the country and make it economically self-sufficient. In practice, however, all it did was to enrich this self-proclaimed "Master of Reconstruction" and his friends and relatives.

Rafsanjani became a specialist in quietly suppressing the opposition. There were practically no free newspapers during his presidency and no political parties . Many dissident intellectuals were assassinated by his chief of secret police at the Ministry of Intelligence and his terrorist groups inside and outside of the county. The list can go on and on. There are enough untold stories for a thick volume.

What seems to have fired the final shot at Rafsanjani's political career is his extremely godfather-like attitude toward the people. He is the self-appointed guardian of a proud people who hate bossy behavior more than anything else. Knowing him full and well by now, the older revolutionary generation is no longer willing to bear his arrogant behavior , and the new generation is not willing to put up with such conceit on anybody's part -- no matter who that person is!

So when Rafsanjani started to accuse his critics of every vice imaginable, many intellectuals came to the conclusion that he should respectfully be handed over to history. What we have observed in the Majlis elections is only the first step in that direction.There will certainly be more to come if he does not step down and disappear quietly on his own.

Comment for The Iranian letters section
Comment to the writer Maryam Farahvashi

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