Hashemi Rafsanjani: Unique politician (1)
Sunday, January 8, 2017, 19:30 o’clock local time, the release of unpleasant news saddened many Iranians and lovers of the Islamic Revolution in the world.
Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Chairman of the Expediency Council, one of the pioneers of struggle against the despotic regime of shah and one of the close companions of Imam Khomeini passed away from heart failure. Thousands of people gathered outside the hospital where Hashemi Rafsanjani was hospitalized. The Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, in a message on the passing away of Hashemi Rafsanjani said: “The loss of a comrade with whom I had a 59-year experience of cooperation, harmony and collaboration is difficult and excruciating. What difficulties and adversities befell us in these decades and what collaborations we had together in many junctures in a common path that was marked by diligence, endurance and risking! His abundant intelligence and his unique sincerity in those years was a reliable source of support for all those who worked with him, especially for me.”
In continuation of his message on the personality of Hashemi Rafsanjani, Ayatollah Khamenei added: “He was a peerless example of the first-generation of combatants against monarchic oppression and he was one of those who suffered on this perilous and glorious path. Years of imprisonment, endurance of SAVAK tortures and resistance in the face of all these and then sensitive responsibilities during the Sacred Defense era, the chairmanship of the Islamic Consultative Assembly and the Assembly of Experts and such other responsibilities are some of the bright pages in the life of that old combatant. With the loss of Hashemi, I know no other personality with whom I had such a common and long-term experience in the vicissitudes of this historic era.” The late Chairman of Expediency Council passed away on the anniversary of murdering Amir Kabir, the reformist Prime Minister, 165 years ago. Amir Kabir was the Iranian premier during the rule of Naser-edDin Shah the incompetent Qajar king for over 3 years. During this short period Amir Kabir took certain reformist measures in Iran which caused the domestic and foreign enemies specially the British colonialists to hatch a plot and finally the incompetent Qajar king ordered his imprisonment and then his murder. Amir Kabir had drawn the attention of Hojjatol Eslam Hashemi Rafsanjani in the early years of his struggle against the oppressive regime of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. He wrote a book on the personality of Amir Kabir titled “Amir Kabir the hero of struggle against colonialism”. Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was born in 1935 in Bahreman village, Rafsanjan city in Kerman province in a religious family. At the age of 14 he went to Qom to study religious sciences. He entered the scene political struggle very soon.
After the US 1953 coup against the national government of Mohammad Mosaddeq, Hashemi Rafsanjani started his political and cultural activities. He was acquainted with Ayatollah Khamenei in those years. His familiarity with Imam Khomeini opened a new chapter in his life. At that time, Imam Khomeini had not yet got the fame as a Marja’ or source of emulation and was unknown to most of the people. But in Qom seminary, Imam Khomeini was referred to as one of the bright and prominent scholars. Hojjatol Eslam Hashemi Rafsanjani gradually became one of Imam Khomeini’s close students. In spite of studying and campaigning, Hashemi Rafsanjani did not ignore cultural work for spreading Islamic teachings and, with the collaboration of a group of bright scholars, he began publishing the magazine “Maktab-e Tashayyo” (Shia School of Thought).
After the US-British coup of 1953, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi tried to strengthen his rule and for achieving this goal, due to the lack of popular support, he tried to further become dependent on Britain and US. He embarked on changes in laws and land reforms under the title of the “White Revolution” and “reaching the gates of great civilization”. But the reforms actually aimed at obliterating the culture and religion of the Iranian people and further colonization of Iran by western regimes led by the US and Britain.
After the passing away of Grand Ayatollah Borujerdi the great source of emulation, Imam Khomeini came to be known as one of the great sources of emulation in Iran and thus Qom became the place of reference of people to the Imam from every part of the country. With the help of brave students such as Ayatollah Khamenei, Ayatollah Beheshti and Hashemi Rafsanjani, he started making the people aware about the Shah’s sinister goals of exploiting the Iranian people under the pretext of land reforms and the white revolution. Imam Khomeini’s revealing speeches shook the foundations of the despotic regime of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The regime put on the agenda detention, torture and murder of political and religious activists and created a climate of suffocation to prevent Imam Khomeini and his disciples from removing the curtain away from his crimes. In March 1963, the mercenary forces of the regime attacked the renowned Faiziyeh religious school whereby hundreds of scholars were killed, injured and arrested. One of the arrested students was Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. At that time religious students were exempted from military service. In order to empty the Qom seminary from youths, the Shah regime made military service compulsory for these students. The young Hashemi Rafsanjani was one of the students who went to military service. After Khordad 15 uprising and killing, injuring and detaining a large number of people by the Shah forces, Imam Khomeini publicly began his struggle against the dictatorial regime. After the uprising, Hashemi Rafsanjani left the garrison and led a furtive life for some months in his hometown. In this period, he translated and published a book on Palestine or the black report card of colonialism written by Akram Zuaytar by adding a prelude to it. It was actually the charter of protest to the domestic hegemony and foreign colonialism and revealed the situation of Muslims especially the oppressed people of Palestine. The book Story of Palestine deeply impacted intellectuals and combatants of that time. Imam Khomeini’s exile to Turkey and then Iraq in November 1964 ushered in a new phase in the struggles of Imam Khomeini’s students such as Hashemi Rafsanjani.
Hashemi Rafsanjani, like other students of Imam Khomeini and the anti-regime political and religious activists was under pursuit. He was arrested and tortured several times by the regime’s security apparatus known as SAVAK. But the arrests and tortures couldn’t shake his will and that of the Imam’s other students in struggling against the regime of Shah. In prison, too, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani worked indefatigably. He made use of every opportunity to write books and articles and spread the Islamic teachings among his cellmates. Out of the prison, Hashemi Rafsanjani procured financial aid to the prisoners’ families.
Hashemi Rafsanjani was one of the main figures in struggling against the Shah regime. He was in close contact with Imam Khomeini (God’s mercy upon him) in Iraq and then in Paris in the climax of the rallies against Shah. In the list prepared by Imam Khomeini as the members of the Revolutionary Council, the name of Hashemi Rafsanjani was also seen. Just as Rafsanjani was one of the pioneers of campaign against the Shah regime and was so close to the Imam, after the victory of the Islamic Revolution, too, he was one of the main figures in strengthening and stabilizing the Islamic Revolution and balancing various political currents. In the next program we will talk about the political life of Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani after the victory of the Islamic Revolution.