Middle East, top headline

Rafsanjani 'didn’t die natural death’, says daughter

Fatima Hashemi spoke to Anadolu Agency on her doubts over death of former Iranian president

Vakkas Doğantekin   | 08.01.2019
Rafsanjani 'didn’t die natural death’, says daughter Daughter of Former President of Iran Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Fatima Rafsanjani speaks during an exclusive interview on January 07, 2019 in Tehran, Iran. ( Fatemeh Bahrami - Anadolu Agency )

By Muhammet Kursun

TEHRAN, Iran

Two years since the death of former Iranian president, his daughter has still doubts over the cause of Ali Akbar Rafsanjani’s death.

‘’There are many unanswered questions about my father’s death on Jan. 8, 2017. I didn’t believe it then and today that my father died a natural death,’’ Fatima Hashemi, daughter of Iran’s late president, told Anadolu Agency.

Rafsanjani, died at the age of 82, was the president of Iran between 1989-1997.

Hashemi said that she contacted his father several times during the day of his death and he was feeling just fine.

‘’I closely followed up the case with the Supreme National Security Council and they simply announced that he died of exposure to radioactive rays which were later verified by the signs on his towel and urine,’’ she said.

‘’However, they failed to come up with an answer when I asked them where the exposure started in his body.”

She added: “Naturally, nobody in his right mind would have believed in the official explanation. As long as the case remains enigmatic, it will continue to boggle the minds.’’

Rafsanjani was among the leaders of the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran. He was at odds with Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei over the country’s international relations.

‘Iran should not isolate itself from int’l community’

Hashemi said her father wanted to develop relations with any country, especially with the Muslim countries including Saudi Arabia, except Israel and those falling into Iran’s redline.

Once on Twitter, he posted: “World of tomorrow is one of the negotiations, not the world of missiles.”

On Turkey-Iran relations, she said her father had a desire to strengthen ties with Turkey.

“He believed in the latent potential of both countries and aimed to cultivate economic and political partnerships that would help the two Muslim countries achieve the international recognition they deserve.’’

Hashemi went on to say: “Today, Iran has toxic relations with its neighbors and struggling economically.”

Her country cannot isolate itself from the international community if it aims to improve the living conditions of Iranian people, according to Hashemi.

‘’The rulers of the country haven’t lived up to their promises since the 1979 revolution. So, people justifiably demand that the slogans and chants of the revolution come true as soon as possible.

‘’It is true that the eight-year war with Iraq, economic sanctions and the existence of terror groups took its toll on the country but our rulers have been insufficient in coping with the challenges,’’ Hashemi said.


‘Iranians Not Happy’

Asked about the social and economic welfare of the Iranian people, Hashemi said that his father’s death created a great hole in Iran, as he was a successful mediator and an instrument of balance between the institutions.

Hashemi said that the Iranian officials’ aim is just to clear their actions.

‘’Nevertheless, the question should be how and why we came to this point and how we can get out of it,’’ Hashemi added.

‘’When Hassan Rouhani [President of Iran] came to power, he promised progress with the nuclear treaty. However, the nuclear process unfolded unfavorably and the people, stricken with economic hardships, took to the streets protesting the government.’’

In 2015, Iran agreed a long-term deal on its nuclear program with the P5+1 group of world powers -- the US, the U.K., France, China, Russia and Germany, which was later unilaterally ditched by the U.S. President Donald Trump.

Hashemi stressed: ‘’I strongly believe that if my father was alive now, we wouldn’t have been here.’’

Children of Rafsanjani dismissed from duties

Also mentioning the restrictions applied to Rafsanjani family, Hashemi said that family members were banned from travelling abroad for a long time, but the restriction now only applies to her sister Faezeh Hashemi.

‘’However,” she complained, ‘’we were dismissed from Azad University [in Iran] as faculty members, where my sister and I were deeply-rooted instructors and my brother Yasir was the principal clerk of the presidency delegation.’’

‘’One day, we got a call and without further explanation, we were told not to come again, which was illegal and shocking,’’ she said.

Disappointed by the insults targeting his father in the media, Hashemi said that the former Iranian president was an intellectual man of vision and tolerance who always disregarded his extremist critics.

"He did not believe that the headscarf should be compulsory,” she said, adding, he was in favor of obeying the rules, though.

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