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To: DoctorZIn; RaceBannon; nuconvert; dixiechick2000; AdmSmith; Valin; piasa; Eala; McGavin999; ...
Profile: Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani

Once considered a progressive force, he is widely seen to have moved closer to the conservative camp since the election of the reformist President, Mohammad Khatami.

President for two terms from 1989-97, Mr Rafsanjani is currently chairman of the powerful Expediency Council, as well as a deputy chairman of the Assembly of Experts.

The Expediency Council arbitrates in disputes between the Majlis, Iran's parliament, and the Guardian Council, which can block legislation. The Assembly of Experts appoints the Supreme Leader, currently Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Mr Rafsanjani's pre-revolutionary credentials earned him a place among the trusted advisers of Ayatollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

He established himself as a powerful figure soon after the revolution as co-founder of the Islamic Republican Party. The party played a major role in Iranian politics until its disbandment in 1987 following internal wrangling over policy.

Mr Rafsanjani was Majlis speaker from 1980-89. In the last year of the 1980-88 war with Iraq, Ayatollah Khomeini appointed him acting commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

He is seen as the main influence behind Ayatollah Khomeini's acceptance of the UN Security Council resolution which ended the war.

As president between 1989 and 1997, Mr Rafsanjani sought to encourage a rapprochement with the West and re-establish Iran as a regional power. His influence in Lebanon helped bring about the release of Western hostages in the early 1990s.

Domestically, he has opposed harsh Islamic penal codes and promoted better job prospects for women. His daughter, Faezeh Hashemi, is a known champion of women's rights. Her reformist publication Zan (Woman) was closed down by the hardliners in 1997.

Since the war in Iraq, he has used Friday prayers to denounce US "plots" in the region.

"Anyone who stretches out their hands towards Iran will have those hands cut off," he said in one sermon.

And he warned students who took to the streets in June over the slow pace of reform that the US was "pinning its hopes" on them. "They should take care they are not entrapped by the Americans' sinister networks."
25 posted on 08/16/2003 11:20:24 AM PDT by F14 Pilot
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To: DoctorZIn; RaceBannon; nuconvert; dixiechick2000; AdmSmith; Valin; piasa; Eala; McGavin999; ...
Profile: Reza Pahlavi

Reza Pahlavi is the eldest son of the former Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Followers see him as the heir to the Peacock Throne.

Since the death of his father in exile in 1980, he has been a focus for monarchists and other dissidents hoping to oust the authorities in Tehran.

Some Washington hawks are said to regard him as their most promising ally in pushing for regime change in Iran.

In 1979, when his father was swept from power, Reza Pahlavi was in Texas completing his air force training.

After a number of years in Egypt and Morocco, he moved to a Washington suburb in 1984, where he still lives with his wife and two daughters.

The extent of his support among Iranians at home and abroad is difficult to gauge.

But since the reformists' poor showing in local Iranian elections in early 2003, there are signs Reza Pahlavi is seeking to broaden his constituency in a possible bid for a future political role.

"In the past I defended the idea of a constitutional monarchy," he told a Turkish newspaper in June 2003. "But my views have changed. I think the best for Iran is a secular and democratic system."

'New chapter'

His vision for Iran is set out on his website. It speaks of a country in the "abyss" of isolation, inflation, unemployment and corruption.

The time has come to write a "new chapter", it says, where freedom and prosperity for Iranians, including women, are guaranteed. The way ahead leads through a referendum, then on to "free and fair" elections.

In June 2003 he told London's Financial Times that regime change could happen "in months, or in one or two years".

Comparing the situation in Iran to the economic decline of 1978, which precipitated the Islamic Revolution, he said he was committed to "non-violent civil disobedience".

And he appealed to the opposition to organise an Afghan-style loya jirga to map out the future.

But, according to Iranian media, Reza Pahlavi's campaigning has not gone down well at home.

Reformists have criticised what they see as his attempt to exploit the June student unrest in Tehran to further his own political ends.

26 posted on 08/16/2003 11:25:31 AM PDT by F14 Pilot
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