Former Supreme Leader Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was no moderate

- January 09, 2017


  • In a 1985 memo, the CIA assessed that “Iranian-sponsored terrorism is the greatest threat to US personnel and facilities in the Middle East...Iranian-backed attacks increased by 30 percent in 1984, and the numbers killed in Iranian-sponsored attacks outpace fatalities in strikes by all other terrorist sponsors. Senior Iranian leaders such as Ayatollah Montazeri,...Prime Minister [Mir Hossein Mousavi], and Consultative Assembly speaker Rafsanjani are implicated in Iranian terrorism."
  • In 1990, the CIA reported, “Although Rafsanjani has sought to improve relations with some Western nations since directly assuming the presidency last August, events of the past year prove that Tehran continues to view the selective use of terrorism as a legitimate tool…[Terror attacks and assassinations against “enemies of the regime”] were probably approved in advance by President Rafsanjani and other senior leaders,” but "the planning and implementation of these operations are...probably managed by other senior officials, most of whom are Rafsanjani's appointees or allies." In the final analysis, "Rafsanjani and [Supreme Leader] Khamenei would closely monitor and approve planning for an attack against the US or Western interests.”
  • In 1992, when Rafsanjani was president of Iran, four Iranian-Kurdish dissidents were assassinated at a Berlin restaurant. A German court found that the murders were ordered by the “highest state levels,” specifically the Committee for Special Operations, on which Rafsanjani sat. The prosecutors said explicitly that the killings had been ordered by Khamenei and Rafsanjani.
  • In 1992, Iran was responsible for blowing up the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires; two years later, the Jewish community center serving that city was likewise blown up. Both of these terrorist attacks occurred under Rafsanjani’s presidency. According to the indictment drawn up by Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who died under mysterious circumstances in January 2015, the final go-ahead for the community center bombing was given by Khamenei and Rafsanjani. The indictment called for the arrest of Rafsanjani and seven others.;
  • 1996 – Iran was responsible for bombing the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, killing 19 U.S. Air Force personnel and wounding 372 more, in addition to Saudi civilians and others. Rafsanjani was president at the time. FBI director Louis Freeh said, "The bombers admitted they had been trained by the Iranian external security service (IRGC) in the Beka Valley, and received their passports at the Iranian Embassy in Damascus, along with $250,000 cash for the operation from IRGC Gen. Ahmad Sharifi.” Freeh later told Congress that "the attack was planned, funded and sponsored by senior leadership in the government of the Republic of Iran, that the IRGC principally had the responsibility of putting that plan into operation.”
  • Rafsanjani said in 2001: “If one day the Islamic world is also equipped with weapons like those that Israel possesses now, then the imperialists’ strategy will reach a standstill because the use of even one nuclear bomb inside Israel will destroy everything.”
  • In 2015, Rafsanjani said he was confident that Israel would be wiped off the map. “When, and how that will happen, depends on conditions which are rapidly changing. Those conditions can be provided very soon if the usefulness period of Israel will expire.”
  • Reuel Marc Gerecht on Rafsanjani: “For the Europeans, and some in the Bush administration, Rafsanjani was the white-turbaned hope, the realpolitician-pragmatist who would save the West from a showdown over Iran's nuclear-weapons program. In reality, he is the true father of Iran's nuclear-bomb program, an overlord for the Iranian terrorism that struck Europe in the 1980s and '90s, and quite possibly one of the dark princes behind the domestic assassination campaign of Iranian liberals that began in the late 1990s. Concerning Israel, Rafsanjani has never given any indication that he differs with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a group Rafsanjani has always supported: Israelis are best when dead.”
  • Gerecht: “Rafsanjani, with Khamenei, could come down brutally on those who politically or culturally pushed the envelope too far. Many intellectuals, at home and abroad, were assassinated during Rafsanjani's presidency by officers and agents of the ministry of intelligence.”
  • In 1983 and 1984, Rafsanjani gave some speeches about Israel and the Jews. Gerecht:

“He described the creation of Israel as ‘a united conspiracy against Islam’ which the Jews still lead. Understanding the aggression and nefariousness of the United States, he said, isn't possible without first understanding the role of Jews within America—their success at capitalism and their power within the media. The Iran-Iraq war, the most searing near-death experience for the founding fathers of the Iranian revolution, couldn't have happened without Jewish-controlled America giving the green light to Saddam and his financiers in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. The Jews were thus responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iranians. For Rafsanjani, Jews have a dark, centripetal eminence. For Khamenei, a man of fewer words, it's much simpler and more explicitly religious. When he describes Israel as an ‘enemy of God’ he means exactly that. His Revolutionary Guards continuously rail against nefarious Jewish power.”

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