The children of former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani have engaged in a public war of words about US politics and the future direction of Iran.
Firebrand activist Faezeh Hashemi Rafsanjani has been asked by her brother Mohsen to apologize for saying she had wanted Donald Trump to win the presidential election. She has now reiterated her position in an open letter, stating that elements of the Iranian government pose more of a threat to the people than Trump.
In the new missive published on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, Faezeh Hashemi stated: “Factions and individuals [in Iran], who are more dangerous than Trump in bullying and non-adherence to principles and regulations, have pushed the country downhill – toward inefficiency, mismanagement, inadequacy, dogma and even to the brink of destruction."
In a sarcastic remark directed at her brother Mohsen, she added: “I defer to him because he has planned a future for himself and seeks to remove obstacles."
In an interview with Esnaf News prior to the election, which was broadcast live on Instagram, Faezeh Hashemi had said she wanted Trump to be elected “for the benefit of Iran”. “People try to reform [Iran],” she added, “but nothing happens; on the contrary, people are repressed. Perhaps if Mr. Trump continues to apply pressure, we will eventually see a change of policy."
In response to these remarks, Mohsen Hashemi, who is currently the chairman of the Tehran City Council, had written an open letter criticizing his sister and asking her to retract the comments. “The fourth anniversary of Father's death had not yet passed,” he wrote, “when the broadcast of an interview with you upset Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani's following and, of course, family members.”
Mohsen went on to say that their father had decried Trump as “a dangerous and bullying figure” who flouted international rules. He added: “You know Trump has relied on emotional, irrational reactions toward Iran in his last days [in office] in order to ignite the flames of conflict, which failed due to the vigilance and tact of officials, especially the Leader of the Revolution... I congratulate the people of Iran and the United States on the fall of Trump.”
He suggested that “mistreatment” of Faezeh Hashemi and her children in recent years might have been the motive behind her statement, and concluded: “I sincerely ask you to correct your words and apologize for this position and prevent the destruction of our father's image by foreign revisionists and domestic extremists.”
But Faezeh Hashemi turned this on its head in her recent letter, pointing out that those in power in Iran go out of their way to silence alternative voices. “Those who keep shouting about the livelihoods of the people... have they seen the hundreds of protests, sit-ins, strikes, and gatherings by different groups in society in the last three years?” she wrote.
“Have they understood that these people’s targets were managers and officials inside the country? The people seem to understand [the situation] better than the elite, despite all their hardships."
She added bitterly: "If personal issues were the motivation behind my behaviour, common sense would have dictated that I remained silent and safe for the past 30 years, enjoying the benefits of being close to power."
Faezeh Hashemi's remarks about her desire for Donald Trump to win were met with hostile reactions from factions close to the Supreme Leader. Hasan Shojaei, the MP for Abhar, tweeted that had it not been for Ghasem Soleimani (the slain commander of the IRGC’s Quds Force), Faezeh Hashemi might have become “a slave to ISIS”.