Baztab has posted a video of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani biding goodbye to his son, Mehdi Hashemi, before he is taken to Evin prison. The controversial ex-President’s son returned after a three year absence, after being accused of playing an important role in stoking the protests and unrest, commonly referred to as “the sedition” in official literature, which followed Iran’s 2009 presidential election, as well as numerous charges of corruption.
For the last three years Hashemi has been living in between London and Dubai, and various rumours had been circulating of when he might decide to return to Iran. The Iranian authorities on numerous occasions had also expressed their intent to pursue the case against Hashemi in the event of his return.
The release of this video of Rafsanjani embracing his son before he leaves for Evin prison is an attempt to humanise this “aqazadeh” (noble born, the term used for the sons of powerful clerics in the political establishment) and most likely arouse sympathy for Mehdi Hashemi, after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his administration has long sought to tap into populist resentment at what many Iranians have come to see as an entitled class of elite children, who have aggrandized themselves politically and above all economically from their fathers’ power and patronage.
Aftab News, close to former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, has posted a letter from the latter’s 1986 memoir in which he refers to his son Mehdi, who was arrested yesterday on a whole raft of charges, contending “more than my child, you are a child of the revolution”.
Similarly, Rafsanjani’s reaction to his son’s arrest has been posted on numerous outlets stating, “my children are like other people’s children and there is no difference between my children and the people’s children”.
Rafsanjani has been widely accused of nepotism by the Iranian and foreign-based Persian media for decades. Such statements are likely attempts to distance himself from such accusations and dispel this deep-seated image of the former President and incumbent head of the Expediency Discernment Council.
For obvious reasons the Iranian media is widely reporting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s final visit to New York as president to attend the UN General Assembly. A number of his comments in a meet with American journalists have been highlighted, especially those pertaining to Iran’s relations with the United States.
The “ present condition in the relations between Iran and America are to the detriment of both countries and perhaps to the detriment of the entire world, but for their improvement we must look at the path and changes which brought relations to their present state, and pay attention to the point that the United States from the outset always stood opposed to the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran”.
He added, “the Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to reflect on its own negative view of America and help until the time when the American government takes steps for the creation of mutual agreement between the two countries, so that an improvement of relations between them can be obtained more quickly”.