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Two Decades of Medical Trips to Europe by Iranian Regime’s Top Brass

April 27, 2023
2 min read
Two Decades of Medical Trips to Europe by Iranian Regime’s Top Brass

Senior Iranian officials and religious authorities – and their relatives – made dozens of trips to Europe between in the 1980s and 1990s to undergo medical treatments, according to late President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani's memoirs.

The collaborative initiative Iran Open Data said in an article on April 27 that Rafsanjani's massive memoirs mention at least 43 such travels between 1981 and 1997.

According to official guidelines, Iran’s Supreme Medical Council could grant approval to send patients abroad for treatment in the 1980s and 1990s, with the expenses being covered by public money, Iran Open Data said. 

In the 1980s, the country faced an acute economic crisis amid its war with Iraq and restrictions on international travel.

Over 40 years, Rafsanjani amassed a large amount of power serving as parliament speaker, commander-in-chief during the Iran–Iraq war, president (1989-1997), head of the Assembly of Experts and chairman of the Expediency Discernment Council.

According to Iran Open Data, his memoirs mention three trips by the wife of Ruhollah Khomeini, the founding father of the Islamic Republic. Khadijeh Saqafi traveled abroad twice for eye treatments, most likely to Spain. She also went to London once for treatment after Khomeini's death in 1989.

They also mention a foreign trip by Khomeini’s son Ahmad, who went to Spain for an eye treatment.

Rafsanjani's memoirs repeatedly refer to trips his wife and children took for medical treatment. 

His wife Efat Marashi traveled to London three times in 1993 alone, each time for several weeks. Other family members, including children, the daughter-in-law, son-in-law, and grandchildren, accompanied her on these trips.

Rafsanjani's memoirs also refer to the travels by high-ranking clerics, including Ayatollah Shahab al-Din Marashi Najafi and  Ayatollah Mohammad Reza Golpayegani.

Members of parliament such as Ahmad Tavakkoli, Abdullah Imami, Jalil Sadr Tabatabai, Einollah Alaei and Eisa Velayati also requested foreign medical trips on various occasions.


Click here to read Iran Open Data's article in English. The original article in Persian is available here.  

Founded in 2016, Iran Open Data (IOD) strives to make Iran’s official data accessible, available and re-usable. Not only does IOD collect and process raw datasets for researchers and experts, it also publishes exclusive data-driven articles and digital stories for the general public. Additionally, IOD conducts public data calls and surveys on often neglected or taboo issues that are rarely addressed by the government. Follow IOD for all the data-stories concerning Iran.



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