Mohsen Hashemi-Rafsanjani, the eldest son of late Iranian politician and former President Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, was unanimously elected to head Tehran’s new City Council on August 19.
The all-reformist council is expected to begin its term on August 23.
While his father presided over the influential Expediency Council, Rafsanjani Jr. served as his chief of staff. He was also director-general of Tehran’s subway for 13 years until resigning in 2010.
Electing Rafsanjani as head of Tehran City Council coincides with the naming of a motorway in the capital after his late father.
Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who died under suspicious circumstances on January 8, was widely believed to be the mastermind behind his close friend and ally Khamenei’s rise to leadership in 1989.
Earlier, for eight long years, he was the speaker of the Iranian Parliament as well as commander of Iran’s military forces during the last years of the Iran-Iraq War.
Once Khamenei had risen to power, Rafsanjani was elected president for two terms. During his presidency, he loved being referred to as “Construction General,” a moniker for his efforts intended for rebuilding the country after eight years of destructive and bloody war against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.
While Rafsanjani was busy with the day-to-day affairs of the government, Khamenei slowly but surely consolidated his power, laying the groundwork to push his old friend from the center of power. Khamenei longed for total power, and soon he got it. Nevertheless, he was always cautious not to confront him directly even when Rafsanjani’s favorite candidate for presidency, reformist Mohammad Khatami, crushed the supreme leader’s choice, Ali Akbar Natiq Nouri.
However, when Rafsanjani tried to regain the presidency in 2005, Khamenei had consolidated enough power to overtly support Ahmadinejad, his main rival.
Ahmadinejad’s presidency put the last nails into the coffin of Khamenei and Rafsanjani’s friendship. Earlier, Rafsanjani’s outspoken daughter and former member of the parliament representing Tehran was detained for diverse charges and lost her license for publishing a women’s weekly.
Furthermore, after the controversial presidential election in 2009, Rafsanjani’s younger son, Mehdi, was also accused of bribery and financial corruption. Later, Mehdi was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment while all his father could do was “pray” for him.
Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani’s death heralded the fall of the House of Rafsanjanis. His youngest son, Yasser, was fired from his job at Azad University, which was founded by the elder Rafsanjani.
Rafsanjani’s younger daughter, Faezeh, who caused controversies over a number of incidents from visiting the late Shah's resting place in Cairo to publicly socializing with her Baha'i prison-mates , has been out of the spotlight.
Mehdi, the fourth child of the family, is still behind bars. References to his high-profile trial and alleged financial corruption are still made occasionally in the so-called conservative media. Fatemeh, Rafsanjani’s eldest daughter, has chosen to stay in the shadows.
Apparently, there’s an orchestrated effort to obliterate the name of Rafsanjani from Iran’s current political life to the extent that during the swearing-in of his protégé Rouhani as president, Rafsanjani’s name was not even mentioned.