Rafsanjani: Death of a Monster Mullah
As an Iranian-American human rights activist, I find reason to celebrate that there is now one less mullah in the world. Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the former Iranian president, died earlier this month of a heart attack at the age of 82. Despite the praise that the mainstream media showered on him, such as the New York Times hailing him as some kind of reformist who worked for his people, this monster mullah leaves a legacy of death and oppression in his wake.
The fourth President of Iran (1989 to 1997), Rafsanjani was the driving force behind a fierce reign of terror, motivated by Islamic ideology, against the people of Iran. He was responsible for myriads of assassinations of Iranians, both in and outside of the country, and showed no mercy to his fellow citizens.
Akbar Ganji, a popular pro-democracy Iranian journalist and writer, has written extensively on Rafsanjani. He identifies the monster mullah as the deadly force behind a chain of murders in Iran at the hands of what was later labeled as Rafsanjani’s "Death Squad.” Ganji’s reports told of the disappearances and abductions of intellectuals and dissidents over a period of several years.
Rafsanjani’s power and influence in Iran spanned well over 3 decades. He was responsible for creating many of the harsh rules and regulations of Iran’s Islamic justice system. Under his reign, hundreds of human rights activists paid a heavy price for standing up against the Islamic regime and Islam. They were brutally beaten, tortured and imprisoned.
As a former citizen of Iran, I know all too well the depth of Rafsanjani’s wickedness. I lived it every day of my life for most of my youth. Rafsanjani’s ruthless rules led to my own arrest and imprisonment as a young girl -- for the crime I committed of singing in public.
Rafsanjani’s political power began in 1979 when, for a year, he was Iran’s Minister of the Interior. In 1980, he became Tehran’s Friday prayer Imam, and he held that position for almost 10 years. In 1980 as well, he became Iran’s Speaker of Parliament and a member of the Islamic Consultative Assembly. He held both of those positions until 1989. From 1989 until his death, Rafsanjani was the Chairman of the Expediency Discernment Council, a member of the Assembly of Experts from August 1983 to January 2017, and he was chairman of that assembly from July 2007 to March of 2011.
To understand the depth of this former Iranian tyrant’s sadistic and cruel rule, we need to highlight some examples of the brutal acts that he perpetrated against his own people. The following is a short list of ordinary Iranians who dared to live courageously under extraordinary circumstances and risked everything for the sake of freedom and for the protection of their fellow man:
Fereydoun Farrokhzad: an Iranian singer, poet and television/radio host whose criticism of Rafsanjani, and of his brutal Islamic regime, on his radio show was considered “anti-Islamic.” Farrokhzad was ultimately forced to flee Iran and he sought haven in Germany, where he was savagely murdered by regime assassins.
Dr. Abdurahman Ghassemlou: a Kurdish influential leader of the Democratic Party of Iran, was assassinated by Rafsanjani’s Republican Guard in Vienna in 1989. Ghassemlou was killed while negotiating a peaceful solution with Iranian agents regarding the plight of the Kurds.
Sadegh Sharafkandi: a Kurdish political activist and the Secretary-General of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran who was murdered in Berlin at a Mykonos restaurant in 1992 -- upon the order of President Rafsanjani.
Haik Hovsepian Mehr: an Iranian Christian bishop who was abducted and murdered by Rafsanjani’s assassins in 1994. His crime? Raising awareness about the suffering of the Iranian people.
The historical record bears out one ugly fact out: Rafsanjani perpetually used his assassins to kill many dissidents. As Robert Spencer has demonstrated, the Iranian despot also lent a hand to terror outside of Iran. It should not really be a great surprise, then, that Rafsanjani was the main supporter of Assadollah Lajevardi, known more appropriately as “The Butcher of Evin Prison.” Lajevardi was extremely cruel, even by the Islamic Republic's standards, and carried out mass executions and monstrous tortures for many years.
Perhaps people will understand why I did not cry upon the death of this monster mullah. It is a cause of celebration. And yet, I must admit, there was a part of me that was sad because I was hoping that Rafsanjani would live long enough to stand trial for the crimes that he perpetrated against his people. Unfortunately, that is not to be. But the hope remains, for me and many of my fellow Iranians, that the other monsters that rule Iran today will one day be judged in a courtroom for the crimes they have committed against their people.
Rafsanjani’s hands are soaked in the bloodshed perpetrated for decades by the Islamic Republic. Make no mistake about it: he was one of the most evil mullahs of our time.
And now, it appears that Rafsanjani’s own Allah has taken him down, liberating millions of people from his evil, murderous hands.
I celebrate that the world is now one mullah less. All Iranian people, and all citizens of the world, are that much safer.