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Perpetrators Who Insulted Hashemi's Family Arrested: An Inside Job?

By Kayvan Bozorgmehr, Rooz Online

Faezeh Hashemi's assailant
Tehran’s powerful prosecutor Abbas Jaafari Dolatabadi on Tuesday announced the arrest of individuals who had insulted and abused Hashemi Rafsanjani’s family three weeks ago. He revealed this during the welcome ceremony of a Tehran court prosecutor. “As we had promised, a case has been filed and the perpetrators of this crime have been identified,” he announced.

On February 20, 2011, YouTube and other social networks such as Facebook had posted a video clip that clearly showed a small group of people insulting and blocking Rafsanjani’s daughter Faeze, and insulting her father the head of the State Expediency Council and her brother in laws who were present and attempted to prevent the men from hurting Faeze. This incident that took place in a parking lot had been clearly and fully video-taped. The assailants called themselves “Hezbollahi kids from Shah Abdol Azim tomb in south of Tehran.

Prior to the incident, Jomhurie Eslami newspaper, closely tied to Iran’s supreme leader ayatollah Khamenei, had written, “While only two weeks remain for the election of the Assembly of Experts on Leadership (at the time chaired by Hashemi Rafsanjani) the assaults on the head of the Assembly of Experts by rogue elements has now extended to his family members at the Abdol Azim tomb during a memorial service.” According to news reports, Faeze Hashemi was assaulted as she was leaving the memorial service for one of her relatives. Jomhurie Eslami newspaper also wrote that when Faeze’s brother in-laws tried to protect her, they were subjected to tazers.

Rafsanjani’s Family Files Charges

Last week, during a judiciary seminar in Tehran said, “A member of Hashemi’s family has filed a lawsuit which must be investigated.” He continued, “Insulting Mrs. Faeze Hashemi had two parts. The first part is about the insults against which she must file a complaint. The second is about insulting her father, which the prosecutor’s office will file charges and pursue.”

Faezeh Hashemi
Faezeh Hashemi

Tehran’s prosecutor also said, “I have repeatedly said that if any one commits a crime, he will have to pay a price for it.” He did not reveal the identity of the individuals who had been arrested or provide any details about them.

An Identity Was Revealed

The videod insults on Faeze Rafsanjani resulted in extensive responses so that even some principlists who support the president and have engaged in verbal battles against critiques of Hashemi criticized the attack. Ali Motahari, a powerful conservative Majlis deputy who is a regular critic of Ahmadinejad also said, “The incident in which Faeze Hashemi, the daughter of Hashemi Rafsanjani was insulted and abused is not something one can overlook.” In his letter to the head of Iran’s judiciary he raised a very serious question: “It must be investigated why the Islamic revolution has come to decline.”

Sadegh Amoli Larijani too responded to this incident and said, “We cannot tolerate this situation. In recent days some officials and their families have been publicly insulted. This is a cruelty and meanness.” He then asked the chief prosecutor and Tehran’s prosecutor to follow the matter.

Among senior clerics too such personalities such as ayatollah Bayat Zanjani and ayatollah Makarem Shirazi said the insults against Faeze were dirty and expressed their regret over them.

From Denying the Assault to Supporting it

Despite these denouncements, the response of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s administration was very different. Ahmadinejad who had recently condemned Kayhan newspaper’s insults of French president’s wife Carla Bruni, refrained from making any comments over this incident. In Bruni’s case, he had said that what Kayhan had written was “against religion,” adding, “If just is to be pursued then these people must be punished. This is neither Islam nor the Islamic republic, not ethical, Iranian or even manly.”

It was in this light that Hashemi Rafsanjani’s website referenced Ahmadinejad’s posture regarding the French president’s wife and his reticence over Faeze's assault and wrote, “Why do you remain silent over the insults of a covered Iranian Muslim woman which took place at the proximity of a religiously sacred place?”

But while Ahmadinejad remained silent, one of his close supporters in the Majlis, deputy Mahmoud Ahmadi-Bighesh said that, “If an assault had taken place, it must have been perpetrated by one of their own friends.” When a reporter asked whether she was aware of this if it had been planned by her associates, he said, “Yes, and perhaps this was carried out by one of her own guards. Hashemi’s children are not worthy of concern by our people.”

There were other official sites that questioned the video clip and the incident. Mahramane News, Mashreq and Raja News initially rejected the video clip and claimed that, “the video clip showing Faeze Hashemi being insulted is completely fabricated and has been filmed as part of a plan.” These sites claimed that Faeze Hashemi and her entourage created this scenario to appear victimized and defame honest people and groups.

The next day, however, Mahramane News published a report by Mohammad Al Habib, a respectable blogger addressing Faeze which read, “What goes around, comes around. These insults against you and your family come from the broken heart of a simple man.”

Hossein Ghadiani, the writer of Ghete 26 website, which was the first one to name Saeed Tajik as the principal perpetrator of the insults, wrote, “I respected the author of the book A Loving War, but when I heard that it was Saeed Tajid who in the town or Rey had insulted Faeze my respect for him was reduced to just two percent.” Ghadiani had earlier written a sharp open letter to Sadegh Amoli Larijnai which had been criticized by principlists. He had then said that supporters of Faeze Rafsanjani were a “bunch of dog-like Zionists”, adding, that when she stepped into the sacred tomb, she had desanctified the place, and Saeed Tajid knew this very well and thus cleared Rey from this dirt.”

He said Tajik’s critics were simpletons and that Faeze deserved to be called a “political whore.” According to JARAS website (belonging to the Green Movement) Ghadiani himself is said to have had a hand in the incident.

Insults That Were Not Investigated

The remarks by Tehran’s prosecutor regarding arresting the perpetrators of the incident comes at a time when verbal attacks on Hashemi Rafsanjani by government supporters have grown in intensity and scope in recent months. In mid-February, Iran’s state-run national television station aired a program in which slogans were chanted against Hashemi Rafsanjani.

Prior to this, Tehran’s prosecutor had said that insulting senior leaders of the Islamic regime was a crime and that he had the responsibility of pursuing the criminals who committed them. But in the twenty past months, Iran’s judiciary has not pursued any of the incidents in which Hashemi Rafsanjani had been insulted and subjected to public verbal assault.

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