Accessibility links

Breaking News

Iran Must Change Its Approach To Israel, Former MP Suggests

IRAN -- Faezeh Hashemi, the activist daughter of Iran's late President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, speaks in an interview with The Associated Press, in Tehran, September 6, 2018

A former representative of Tehran to Iran's Majlis parliament, Faezeh Hashemi, is speaking out about the presence of Israel's Zionist regime near the Iranian border, clarifying that Israel needs not to be near Iran to hit it.

Speaking to the Arman-i Melli daily last Tuesday in Tehran, Hashemi highlighted the "undeniable fact" that Israel has "occupied Palestine and ruthlessly oppressed its people," but that Iran must "be updated on the world stage and make decisions commensurate with its interests" to "maintain its dominance."

Iran's goal should be "protecting the national interests and resources, as well as the rights of the people," Hashemi argued, reiterating, "to put it in a nutshell, maintaining the [Islamic Republic] establishment, and its goals, are the foremost obligation."

Hashemi was echoing the founder of the Islamic regime, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who once said that even the principles of Islam could be suspended for the sake of preserving the establishment.

The younger daughter of Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a white-turbaned clergy once presumed Iran's second-strongest man after Khomeini, Hashemi added that "as no country's policy is eternal, all issues in Iran should need updating under the national resources and interests, and the rights of the people."

Hashemi went even further by warning that Grand Ayatollahs should also "update their fatwas," otherwise they would lose their followers.

Since its inception after the downfall of Iran's pro-West monarch in 1979, the Islamic Republic has denied Israel's right to exist, describing it as the "usurper regime" of the first qibla of Muslims (Quds or Jerusalem), and emphasizing solidarity with the Palestinians.

The current Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has repeatedly predicted that Israel's policies will eventually lead to its "destruction."

Hashemi also referred to Muslims other than Palestinians who suffer oppression, including Uyghurs in China and Chechens in Russia. The Uyghurs and Chechens are in the same situation as the Palestinians are. Hashemi argued, noting "Still, the Islamic Republic has close ties with Russia and China, and even grants them concessions."

Referring to the normalization of the relations between the Persian Gulf sheikhdoms, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Kingdom of Bahrain with Israel, Hashemi reminded readers that Israel "has accepted the UAE condition and has stopped the annexation of Palestinian territories and expanding settlements for now."

While clergy-dominated Iran leaders dismissed the UAE and Bahrain rapprochement with Israel as "treachery," Hashemi argued that Qatar also mediated between Hamas and Tel Aviv after the UAE-Israel agreement, and they have also reached some agreements.

Hashemi maintained, "Oman has also approved the UAE-Bahrain agreements with Israel, while Iran has good relations with Qatar and Oman. Therefore, Tehran's policies must be convincing."

Arman-i Melli then inquired why Hashemi's father, twice President (1989-97) the Speaker of Majlis (1980-89), the Chairman of the influential Expediency Council (1989-2017), and the Chairman of the Assembly of Experts (2007-2011), failed to take any steps to change Tehran's policy towards Israel.

"My father had asserted that where our interests require, we should engage. He also said that it is permissible to devise policies that might be contradictory to the 'principles' of the regime," Hashemi responded.

Notorious for being bold and not mincing her words, Hashemi told a videoconference at the University of Stanford's Center for Iranian Studies, "Iranian ruling establishment today is neither revolutionary nor religious."

At the same conference about two months ago, Hashemi referred to Iranian women's plight and their suffering under many pressures.

"It has been years since the Islamic Revolution's inception, and lots of things are out of control," she said. "In addition to the hurdles created by the fundamentalists, the people's disappointment with the so-called reformists has contributed to the regime's reluctance toward any change."

Hashemi also blasted some parts of the so-called pro-reform leaders for siding with the regime during the widespread 2017 and 2019 anti-Islamic Republic uprisings, adding that "some reformists issued statements that did not correspond to the realities of society."

Faezeh Hashemi Rafsanjani, 57, published the first women's only magazine in the Islamic Republic entitled "Woman." She was Tehran's representative to the Islamic Consultative Assembly from 1996-2000.

In 2011, she was sentenced to six months imprisonment and five years deprivation of political, cultural, and press activities on charges of "propaganda activities against the regime."

Arman-i Melli published Hashemi's proposal on the need to change the policy of Iran against Israel on the same day that the Foreign Ministers of Israel and the UAE visited the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin during their first face-to-face meeting in Germany.