Controversial Son of Former President Rafsanjani Arrested upon Return to Tehran

Yesterday BBC Persian broadcast footage of Mehdi Hashemi, son of former President Rafsanjani, who continues to head the Expediency Discernment Council, at Dubai International Airport en route to Tehran, stating “I will speak in Iran”. Interestingly enough, Iranian news agencies proved to be heavily reliant on BBC reporting of Mehdi Hashemi’s return after it was thought he might be a no show, after his sister Faezeh Hashemi had been arrested earlier that day. Itwas announced that Ms. Hashemi would begin her 6 month jail term, which had been issued in January of this year, and upheld upon appeal.

Last night Fars News published photos of Mehdi Hashemi returning to Tehran’s Imam Khomeini airport, accompanied by his brother and sister, Yaser and Fatemeh. Upon arrival Mehdi was met by a representative of the Public Prosecutor and told to present himself to the latter’s office within 24 hours.

The charges are reported to be numerous, and range from his alleged role in instigating and funding opposition to the ruling elite (in contrast to the establishment as a whole) and Ahmadinejad government specifically, in the turbulent aftermath of the 2009 re-election, which saw the incumbent return to the presidency, and Supreme Leader Khamenei further tighten his grip on power, to millions of dollars’ worth of corruption.

Continue reading