By Karmel Melamed
Earlier this month following the death of the notorious Iranian Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani on January 8th, I was utterly shocked and amazed at the response from the media and the U.S. State Department to this news out of Iran. Many news media outlets in Europe or the United States have identified him as a “moderate”, a “reformist” and one ridiculous CNN opinion piece even referred to him as a “man of peace”. These descriptions of the brutal Rafsanjani were not only completely false but downright ridiculous given the blood-thirsty unmerciful reign of terror he carried out in Iran and outside of Iran during the last 37 years. What was even more surprising to me was the fact that the Obama State Department sent an official letter of condolence to Rafsanjani’s family in Iran! Honoring a despicable man who was directly responsible as one of the founders of the largest state-sponsor of radical Islamic terrorism and a man that was directly responsible of killing hundreds of thousands of Iranians as well as thousands of others outside the country is simply insanity! Those in the Western media who have called Rafsanjani a “moderate” or a “man of peace” are either completely delusional or totally blind to the true facts of history surrounding this evil man.
Iranian Americans like myself who are fluent in Farsi and are well aware of the long bloody history of Rafsanjani’s brutal reign of power in Iran know the real truth about this man. As a close confidant— and perhaps the number two man to the Iranian regime’s founder the Ayatollah Khomeini, Rafsanjani was one of the early regime henchmen that helped set up and solidify the power base of the entire repressive regime in Iran. He and other clerics in Iran set the new regime up based on the repressive principles of radical Shiite Islamic law. Wielding incredible power, Rafsanjani cracked down hard on any political opposition to the Iranian regime in the 1980s by arresting, imprisoning and even executing opposition members. In fact, news out of Iran last year pointed to Rafsanjani’s directly involvement with ordering the 1988 execution of nearly 30,000 political prisoners in Iran. He served as president of the Iranian regime for a number of years, speaker of the Iranian regime’s parliament– all positions in which he used his power to crush journalists, artists, women, religious minorities, labor union leaders and “other enemies of the Iranian state”. Perhaps one of his lesser known roles was that of commander-in-chief of the Iranian regime’s military during the Iran-Iraq war. He was believed to be responsible for developing the tactic in which Iranian children were forced to run through mine fields during the war in order to clear them for soldiers launching attacks against Iraqi forces. More importantly, Rafsanjani was head of an Islamic body that helped appoint Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as Iran’s new “supreme leader” after the death of Khomeini in 1989. Rafsanjani essentially put into power the most influential man in Iran today that has been calling for and advancing efforts for Israel’s and America’s annihilation on a daily basis!
But Rafsanjani’s evil was not only limited to Iran. As one of the key leaders of the regime, he directed funds and orders to the Iranian terror proxy, Hezbollah to carry out countless terrorist strikes against opponents of the Iranian regime worldwide. For example, an Argentine court in 2006 found Rafsanjani was directly responsible for ordering Hezbollah to carry out the 1994 bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish community center that killed 85 people and wounded more than 300 individuals. Additionally, in 1993 a German court determined that Rafsanjani was directly responsible for ordering the Iranian regime’s agents in Germany to assassinate three Iranian-Kurdish opposition leaders who were gun down while eating at a Greek restaurant in Berlin.
Moreover it’s hard for anyone to believe an unapologetic anti-Semite and Israel hater like Rafsanjani could ever be considered a “moderate” based on his very bold and clear comments made over the years. On December 14, 2001 at Tehran University during the annual Al-Quds Day protest against Israel, Rafsanjani said in a speech “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. However, it will only harm the Islamic world. It is not irrational to contemplate such an eventuality”. In addition Rafsanjani in an October 2007 televised speech on Iranian state-run television that was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) said that Hitler’s treatment of the Jewish people in Europe was due in part to there being “a pain in the neck”. He also said in the speech that the Jews caused problems for European governments because they “had a lot of property” and “controlled an empire of propaganda”. Lastly Rafsanjani said that the Nazis were successful in saving Europe from the evil of Zionism.
In the end it is a sad say in America when the U.S. State Department tries to cozy up to the evil leaders of the Iranian regime with this insane condolence letter for Rafsanjani despite his long record of anti-Semitism, despite his calls for genocide against Israel and despite his thousands of crimes against in the people of Iran. Likewise it is shameful when so many Western media outlets call an evil criminal like Rafsanjani a “moderate” when the facts are clear about his direct role in imprisoning, torturing and executing hundreds of thousands of political opponents in Iran and also directing international terrorist attacks against his opponents. How could anyone in their right mind claim that Rafsanjani was a “moderate” or a “man of peace” when his records of crimes against humanity are too long to list? This man was nothing more than a brutal criminal who escaped justice after all of the crimes he committed against innocent Iranians and others. One must not rejoice at the news of Rafsanjani’s death, but acknowledge that he was an evil leader of the Iranian regime who does not deserve praise for advancing terrorism and committing heinous crimes against humanity.