Sunday, June 21, 2009

Rafsanjani's daughter arrested in Iran

A further sign of splits within the elite. This one looks like a big deal.

I have seen reports about this in several places, but here's how the Times of India put it:
TEHRAN: The daughter of Iran's former president Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani and four relatives were arrested over their involvement in protests against alleged election fraud in Iran, the Fars news agency reported on Sunday.

Faezeh Hashemi, a renowned women's rights activist, former parliament deputy and head of women sports in Iran, has in the recent years emerged, like her father, as one of the main opponents of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Ahmadinejad had before the June 12 election accused Rafsanjani and his children of corruption.

Fars said that Faezeh, her daughter and three other relatives were arrested during Saturday's demonstrations for 'agitating' the protestors.
("Renowned women's rights activist"? That seems a little overdone. At all events, it's worth noting that Rafsanjani and his family are not universally beloved in Iran. Rafsanjani is the epitome of the clerico-kleptocratic 'establishment' wing of the ruling elite, and Ahmadinejad's charges of corruption gave high-level expression to beliefs that are widely shared.)

Juan Cole remarks:
The regime has arrested Faezeh Hashemi Rafsanjani, daughter of the former president, who spoke at a pro-Mousavi rally, along with 4 other members of that family. This step is typical of an old Iranian ruling technique, of keeping provincial tribal chieftains in check by keeping some of their children hostage at the royal court. It is widely suspected that Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a multi-billionaire who is well connected politically, is funding and aiding the reform movement's protests.
--Jeff Weintraub

Update: Apparently, they have now been released. Maybe this was just a warning shot?