Hashemi Rafsanjani: Unique politician (2)
In this article we talk about the role of Hashemi Rafsanjani in managing Iran’s crises in the first decade after the victory of the Islamic Revolution.
The sudden passing away of Hashemi Rafsanjani was a sad event.
During the victory of the Islamic Revolution, Hashemi Rafsanjani was one of the close friends of Imam Khomeini. After the victory of the Islamic revolution, too, he was a close associate of the great Leader of the revolution till the last moment of Imam Khomeini’s life. Prior to the revolution he was known as a firm combatant, a prudent, farsighted and smart person. These characteristics made him a special personality. The Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei in his message on the passing away of Hashemi Rafsanjani said: “His abundant intelligence and his unique sincerity in those years was a reliable source of support for all those who worked with him, particularly for me.” At the peak of his struggles against Shah Regime till the moment of the regime’s overthrow, Hashemi Rafsanjani began to form organs for the days after the victory of the Islamic revolution. The official set up of Association of Combatant Ulema, formation of the revolutionary council, and solving the shortage of fuel in the form of the Imam’s delegation to oil-rich regions and formation of welcoming headquarters and maintaining the security of Imam Khomeini in return to his homeland were among the measures taken by Hashemi Rafsanjani and some other students and close friends of Imam Khomeini. Among the other innovations of Hashemi Rafsanjani after the victory of the Revolution were the setup of Jomhouri Islami party with Imam Khomeini’s permission and the efforts of martyr Dr. Beheshti the first judiciary chief and Ayatollah Khamenei after the victory of the Islamic revolution. The Islamic Revolution of Iran was a revolution based on revival of human and religious values under the leadership of a prominent jurisprudent. For this reason, since the victory of the revolution, the hostilities and enmity of the two western and eastern super powers and their mercenaries began towards the Islamic Republic. They aimed at assassination of the revolutionary figures to defeat the Islamic Revolution. Their first target was Ayatollah Morteza Motahhari one of the theorists of the Islamic revolution and the student of Imam Khomeini. Two and a half months after the victory of the Islamic revolution Ayatollah Motaharri was martyred by an agent of the hypocritical group known as Forqan. The second target of the counter-revolutionary grouplet was Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
About four months after the victory of the Islamic revolution, Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani was exposed to assassination attempt in which he was injured. The most important factor for failure of the calculated terror was the speedy interference of his wife Effat Marashi. Imam Khomeini issued a historic message of thankfulness for Hashemi Rafsanjani’s health which showed the depth of the Imam’s love for him. He wrote:
Dear Hashemi, committed Mujahed ! The late Modarres who was murdered on Reza Khan’s order sent a message from the hospital and said: Tell Reza Khan that I am alive. Now, too, Modarres is alive. The historic men are alive till the end. Let the ill-wishers know that Hashemi is alive since the revolution is alive.
Ayatollah Modarres, the great combatant against the despotic regime of Reza Khan, was threatened to death several times by Reza Khan and finally he was exiled and martyred on his order.
Selection of Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani by the founder of the Islamic Revolution for reading out the premiership decree of Bazargan along with the Imam’s message on the occasion of his health indicated his special status to Imam Khomeini (God’s mercy upon him). Despite the domestic and foreign hostilities which were made towards the Islamic Revolution, the first goal of the revolutionary figures was to strengthen and stabilize the nascent system of the Islamic Republic. At the beginning of the victory of the Revolution, Hashemi Rafsanjani assumed the supervision of the interior ministry. During his tenure he conducted the important mission of holding the first presidential election after the collapse of the 2500 year monarchic regime. Then, Rafsanjani resigned from his post because of nomination for the first round of the Islamic Consultative Assembly (Majles). With the setup of the first round of the Majles, Rafsanjani was elected as the speaker. Assuming the post of speaker with that political and struggling record granted a special status to the Majles chairmanship. His agreement and opposition to any bill affected the votes of the MPs to the extent that he was referred to, by some, as number 2 man of Iran after Imam Khomeini.
The role of Hashemi Rafsanjani in strengthening and stabilizing the fledgling system of the Islamic Republic is revealed in confronting crises. One of the gravest crises was revealing the treason of the first president Bani Sadr in the critical condition of war. At the beginning of 1981, the country had a very sensitive situation. In these critical conditions, using his legal and real credibility, Rafsanjani while adjusting the both parties of dispute pushed forward the current issues of the country in different ways. Bani Sadr, by paying no attention to the interests of the newfound Islamic system, instigated rifts and differences among various currents of the system. In order to stabilize his position and pushing aside Imam Khomeni’s friends, he got close to MKO terrorists. The MKO outfit consisting of male and female militias was put at Bani Sadr’s disposal. In the first reaction to this counter-revolutionary tendency of Bani Sadr, Imam Khomeini dismissed him from the post of commander in chief of armed forces and the Islamic Consultative Assembly under the presidency of Hashemi Rafsanjani voted to political incompetence of the first president of Iran. With the dismissal of Bani Sadr, the MKO entered a military phase in opposing the Islamic revolution. Assassination and explosion grew in the country. The assassination attempt of Tehran Friday prayer Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, explosion of Islmaic Republic Party’s central bureau, martyrdom of Dr. Beheshti the head of the country’s Supreme Court along with 72 top officials, explosion of premiership office and martyrdom of president Mohammad Ali Rajaee and premier Mohammad Javad Bahonar are clear examples in this regard. In this period, Hashemi Rafsanjani with the help of his friends assumed the management of the country to exit the crisis.
Fighting the Ba’athist regime had placed the war at the top of the country’s affairs. From the beginning of the war, Imam Khomeini appointed Rafsanjani as a member of the Supreme Defense Council and he was selected as the spokesman of the council. During Bani Sadr’s presidency there were serious differences among the armed forces in the manner of countering Saddam’s aggression but the differences were reduced with the deposal of Bani Sadr. But differences on how to administer the war emerged again after a number of operations. At that time, for a full-scale confrontation with the current conditions, the then president Ayatollah Khamenei in a letter to Imam Khomeini requested that all of the affairs related to the armed forces be ceded to one person and he proposed Hashemi Rafsanjani as the most competent person. The Imam appointed Hashemi Rafsanjani with full authority as the deputy commander in chief of armed forces. This responsibility continued till the end of the war. Thus, Hashemi Rafsanjani got multi-lateral responsibilities for administering the country’s affairs. On one hand he had to look into the country’s legislative affairs in the Majles in view of the different economic and political problems. On the other hand, he had to put the country’s possibilities with regard to the strict limits in the government’s income in the service of the war.
With Hashemi Rafsanjani’s management to nullify the economic plot of the enemies, two ways were put forward. First, more oil would be exported in a limited period of time to reduce the losses resulting from reduction of oil incomes.
Secondly, more efforts should be made for self-sufficiency in military industries. The economic bottlenecks at that time caused the officials to seriously think of reconstruction. But the numerous problems and the huge expenses of the war had placed the country in a sensitive situation. Next program we will talk about the manner of ending the war, the passing away of Imam Khomeini and the manner of electing Ayatollah Khamenei as the Leader and filling the great vacuum of loss of Imam Khomeini and the new role of Hashemi after the end of war for the country’s reconstruction.