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How Green Is Rafsanjani?

Faezeh Hashemi, a former lawmaker and the daughter of Iran’s former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, has said that her father is a member of the opposition movement.

In an interview with the online “Rooz” publication, Hashemi said that her father shares the demands of the Green Movement.

“Because the demands of Rafsanjani and the Green Movement are the same, he can be considered a member of the Green Movement of the Iranian people,” Hashemi is quoted as saying.

Rafsanjani spoke in favor of the opposition movement last July when he led Tehran’s Friday Prayers. Then he said that Iran is facing a crisis and that a number of steps should be taken to end the crisis, including the release of political prisoners and the creation of an atmosphere where critics can express themselves freely.

In her interview with “Rooz,” Hashemi says that he stands by the solution he offered in July.

Reading Rafsanjani and trying to understand where he stands in the postelection crisis is something of a challenge for Iran observers.

Despite his tacit approval of the opposition, many observers argue that Rafsanjani is in fact only concerned about the survival of Iran’s clerical establishment and not the Green Movement. Among them is exiled journalist Masoud Behnoud who told RFE/RL's Radio Farda on February 10 that more than anything Rafsanjani supports the Iranian establishment.

“He says, as a pragmatic person, that this movement should be taken seriously so that it doesn’t get out of proportion and damage the establishment,” Behnoud said.

In recent months, Rafsanjani, his son Mehdi Hashemi, and Hashemi have come under pressure from hard-liners.

Last week, at the opening of a meeting of the Assembly of Experts, which is in charge of overseeing the work of the supreme leader, Rafsanjani said that there are signs of reconciliation in the country. He also praised Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and said that there is no one better than Khamenei to be “the pivot of unity.”

Rafsanjani was seen as one of the only figures within the Iranian establishment who could mediate with the opposition. But following his recent expression of support for Khamenei, some have suggested that instead he has made a deal with the hard-liners in order to save himself.

Faezeh Hashemi, meanwhile, has called for patience and said that Rafsanjani will follow his own path and that “God willing, it will bring results.” She also said that her father will not compromise over people’s rights.

-- Golnaz Esfandiari

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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