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Who was Rafsanjani and what role did he play in the suppression of people’s democratic demands

Hashemi Rafsanjani who died on 8th January 2017, was an influential politician who held many important posts since the Revolution of 1979, ranging from Minister of Interior, to (4th) President between 1989 to 1997, also Speaker of the Parliament, Chairman of the Assembly of Experts and the Chairman of the Expediency Discernment Council.mothers of laale park
His legacy is an appalling one of destitution for the people and a country on its knees economically and politically, with social and cultural conditions having worsened. The Mothers of Laleh Park have written on Rafsanjani’s record.
‘Hashemi Rafsanjani was 44-45 years old at the time of the Revolution in 1979, with a history of political activism and time served in the political prisons of the Shah. During that period he acted sometimes against his affluent class background and in favour of the working class and small farmers, but these actions were only aimed at gathering support with a view to gaining power.
These positions were reversed when the clergy usurped absolute power and the condition of workers and small farmers, not only failed to improve, but became catastrophic. At the beginning they succeeded in attracting the support of many political groups by posing on the platform of anti-imperialism. They soon started the suppression of dissenters with a view to dominate and consolidate their position. The first demonstration of women against forced hejab was met with the widespread attacks of so-called ‘self-initiated’ groups of thugs. These continued to expand to the brutal suppression of all opposition groups in any form and in all spheres – economic, cultural and political. Following the start of the Iran-Iraq war, and under the pretext of security measures during war-time, the attacks grew ever-more brutal and severe. After the end of the war, the regime took out massive loans from the International banks and embarked on unbridled privatization. Rafsanjani adopted the role of a key figure in the so-called jump starting the engine of production and development in the country but in place of facilitating the growth of producers, he handed all economic power to the military forces, and founded companies together with his circle of friends and relatives, divided up the national wealth among the 1,000 families and imprisoned free thinkers, and thus concentrated all power in his own hands and turned Iran into a ruin.
Rafsanjani’s policy was like an avalanche that doubled the unemployment, poverty, prostitution, smuggling contraband and drugs, discrimination, inequality, and injustice; it made the poor poorer and the rich richer, while lobbying and dealing-wheeling in seats of power became the norm. These policies affected all aspects of our lives and destroyed our industrial production, farming, water, air, culture, art, music, cinema and theatre, sports, natural resources and the health of the nation. Everything was reduced to money, and our currency was losing its value by the day and the people’s power for earning it was diminished by the day, while human values became the victims in these conditions.
Rafsanjani and his associates did anything to stay in power. On every occasion, whether it was the Revolution of 1979, or during the Iran-Iraq war, or the massacre of prisoners in 1988, or in elections campaigns, Rafsanjani’s methods are not easy to forget. He was one of the figures responsible for the killings which took place shortly after the Revolution, openly or secretly, individually or in groups, continuously or intermittently, aimed at silencing the people. Rafsanjani and his associates were in alliance when they suppressed the people using their made up theories which reversed every concept, misrepresented the revolutionaries as counter-revolutionaries and in this way, hollowed out the meaning of a revolution that has inspired so many people to hope for a better tomorrow. They suppressed those who called for a democratic society with freedom of thought, expression and association, one based on social justice and devoid of exploitation, with all equal before the law. All the ruling factions in the state, the fundamentalists, reformists and moderates were united in this policy of survival of the Islamic State, as they still are. Their only difference is in their share of power.
If we want to speak about the role that Hashemi Rafsanjani played from the moment he stepped into the political arena, it will take several volumes. However, in order to stress his role in suppressing the democratic demands of the people, we list some of his actions:
1. Helping the consolidation of the Islamic Republic and misrepresenting the demands of the people from their revolution, based on freedom, independence and an end to discrimination, exploitation, and royalty;
2. Changing the Constitutional Law and replacing the term ‘Rule of Supreme Religious Leader’ with ‘Absolute Rule of Supreme Religious Leader’ ;
3. Widespread suppression of people in boarder counties and cities in order to consolidate political power, and the massacre of activists in Sanandaj, Gonbad-e-Kavoos, Torkaman Sahra, and many others in 1980.
4. Effective role in the so-called Cultural Revolution, a cover for the removal and liquidation of opposition. The so-called Cultural Revolution started after he gave a speech in Tabriz university and was confronted with the students’ protests, in 1981. Undoubtedly the plans for the suppression of dissent had been hatched prior to the event. They planned to increase the power of Islamic societies in the universities and to purge political activists from universities. Many mass arrests started during that period.
5. The suppression and arrest and execution of political activists and opposition during the 1980s.
6. Assassination of opposition figures inside the country and abroad,
7. The continuation of the destructive Iran-Iraq was and the resulting dead and injured, after the liberation of Khoramshahr from Iraqi forces in June 1982. They continued the war in order to divert attention from the suppression of democratic rights in the country and the aim of increasing the Islamic Republic’s influence in the region and the world.
8. Elimination of opposition figures, especially the mass killing of political prisoners in the summer of 1988, following the signing of Resolution 598, and the drinking from the ‘poisoned chalice’ by the Supreme Leader on 20th July 1988 when the war ended. According to witnesses, that agreement had been drafted since 1987 by Hashemi and Ahmad Khomeini (Khomeini’s son) and others in the leadership of the regime. Following the end of the war, under the pretext of attacking the Organisation of Mojahedin, from August 1988 and in less than two months, 4,000 prisoners who had been given prison terms, were recalled in secret hearings only a few minutes long, without a defence lawyer present, or the information of the family, or without informing the prisoner of the charge or the reason for renewed trial, were summarily condemned to death and executed. The families of these political prisoners still do not know how and why their loved ones were killed or where their bodies are buried.
9. Privatisation of state-owned industries and bodies, and giving greater economic power to military and security forces and bodies during Rafsanjani’s Presidency 3rd August 1989 – 3rd August 1997.
10. Effective role in the assassination of opponents in the Mikonos restaurant in Berlin, Germany, on 17th September 1992 when many Kurdish political activists were killed.
11. Other cases such as the probable bombing of the Jewish community center in Argentina on 18th July 1994 where 85 people were killed and 300 injured.
The deployment of military and security personnel to key posts such as Mayor of the city or Labour Minister and the like, without any appropriate credentials, are among the actions of Rafsanjani aimed at serving his political interests. It is policies like this that have led to the tragic deaths of Samad and Ahad, (two working little boys) who were burned alive among the city refuse, and buildings such as the Plasco tower that burned into a heap of debris due to breach of health and safety measures or perhaps due to other reasons, while hard-working people like the firemen and many others became the victims of the profiteering of the wealthy and powerful.
Have we not had innumerable tragedies such as these? The deaths and illnesses due to the air pollution and accidents on the road or in the workplace or the home of people who struggle to meet the minimum standard of living. Has the regime ever thought about improving these conditions? Or as some officials state: ‘ now is not the time to discuss these things, the government of moderation must remain steadfast and strong, and implement the policy of structural moderation as engineered by Rafsanjani, and conclude the Nuclear agreement; the conditions will improve, and we will be secure’. They are right. Who needs more security than this? What else do we want?…
We, the Mothers of Laleh Park (mothers of those killed by the regime) in Iran are in solidarity with all victims and injured claimants. We are sorry that after 38 years, we have not been able to bring the perpetrators of the crimes to the courts, and that those responsible for these heinous crimes escape trial by natural death, and take their secrets to the grave with them. We know that those responsible are not limited to those who have died, they had collaborators. We hope that one day we will bring those who remain to the courts of justice so that their true political and existential nature is exposed and that the secret of their crimes are revealed. We hope that this way we can create the conditions for justice to prevail.
Mothers of Laleh Park – 23.january 2017’
MaZanan 04.02.2017

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