Daughter Of Former President Under Attack For Saying Trump Was Better For Iran
Former Iranian lawmaker Faezeh Hashemi, a pro-reform politician and an advocate of human rights in Iran has come under fire from both reformists and hardline conservatives for saying that a second Trump term could have led to positive changes in Iran.
Even her brother Mohsen Hashemi, who chairs the Tehran City Council, has called on Faezeh Hashemi to apologize for the comment she made in a recent interview with Ensaf News website.
Faezeh Hashemi said that if she was an American she would not have voted for Trump but that his re-election would have been good for Iran because Trump put pressure on the current leadership of the Islamic Republic for positive change.
“What problem has Qasem Soleimani's performance solved for Iran?” she asked, referring to the Iranian general killed by a United States drone strike in Baghdad in January 2019.
Hashemi is the daughter of former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani who for years was a kingmaker in the Islamic Republic and the influential man who helped bring Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to power in 1989.
Hashemi Rafsanjani (L) and Ali Khamenei in late 1980s or early 1990s, when he backed Khamenei's election as Supreme Leader
Outspoken ultraconservative mouthpiece Vatan Emrooz newspaper on Sunday, January 10 accused her of “mourning for Trump” rather than commemorating her father’s death anniversary. He died in January 2018 in suspicious circumstances that led some regime opponents to believe he was killed by hardline political rivals.
During the past three decades Iranian hardliners have taken advantage of every opportunity to attack Faezeh Hashemi mainly for her human rights advocacy and particularly for her support of religious minorities and political prisoners.
They sentenced her to jail during the post-election unrest of 2009 for publicly speaking against an election that was widely believed to have been rigged.
While in jail, she did her best to reform women's prisons by insisting on the inmates' rights. Meanwhile, she undermined some of the taboos including mixing with the members of religious minorities and outlawed political groups. After she was released from jail, she went to see former inmates including some of those who were jailed for their belief in the Bahai faith.
During her career as a member of Parliament (1996 – 2000), she strongly supported the idea of women's civil liberties. Also, as the head of the women's sports federation, she worked hard to get the permission for women to ride bicycles, which clerics had banned.
Faezeh Hashemi during the Green Movement protests in 2009-2010
She won over 852,600 votes in the 1996 Majles election in Tehran that was an unprecedented tally, higher even than the votes her father had won for presidency in the city. By far, she was then the most popular political figure in Iran and her pictures were frequently featured on newspaper frontpages and magazines.
She is a member of the pro-reform centrist Executives of Construction Party, but her popularity has always exceeded the party's reputation.
Born in 1963, Faezeh Hashemi is one of the most highly educated Iranian politicians. She studied at Tehran's Islamic Azad University and continued her education at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom.
In the late 1990s she was the publisher and proprietor of Zan [Woman] newspaper in Iran that advocated women's rights. When Iran's hardline Judiciary banned the paper, her trial was one of the most controversial events in Iran as a fundamentalist regime put the daughter of one of its founders on trial for advocating ‘freedom’.
The recent attacks on Hashemi do not have anything to do with Trump. They are rather a revenge for her call for “changes.” On the other hand, Iran analysts in foreign-based media including Iran International TV have stressed that her hope in Trump’s re-election bringing about political change in Iran marks the deep disillusionment even among regime insiders as they have concluded that no change is possible from within the country.
While many hardline social media users have attacked Faezeh Hashemi for her comments, some, including Mojtaba Hosseini, the editor of Etemad Online has suggested that critics need to present counter-arguments rather than try to assassinate Hashemi’s character.