Aurangzebawan's Weblog

June 27, 2009

Guide to Iran Power Players

Filed under: Uncategorized — aurangzebawan @ 10:25 am
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While Mir Hossein Mousavi’s election battle plays out in the streets of Tehran, his most powerful ally, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (Ack-bar Hah-sheh-me Raf-san-johnny), 75, is leading the charge behind the scenes to annul the disputed election—and perhaps even overthrow the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Rafsanjani heads the Assembly of Experts, which has the power to remove Khamenei, and reports suggest he has been leading a reformist bloc of insiders in hopes of securing the protesters’ demands from within the current government. He enjoys tremendous credibility with the public, making him a difficult foe to suppress. In addition to participating in the 1979 revolution, Rafsanjani served as president from 1989 to 1997, and helped select Khamenei as supreme leader in 1989. He ran for president again unsuccessfully in 2005 against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and was a vocal critic of the current president during the most recent election. In a possible attempt to stifle Rafsanjani’s pro-Mousavi campaign, Iranian police briefly jailed members of his family this week, including his daughter, before they were freed on Sunday. While Rafsanjani may be a democratic icon for the moment, he is by no means a friend of the West. In addition to being regarded as the father of Iran’s nuclear program, Argentine officials hold him responsible for the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people. A federal judge there issued a warrant for his arrest in 2006.

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