In the current conflicts that are taking place in Iran, Rafsanjani is one of the key players. It is important to understand who he is though, and in the opinion of the author, not to put too much hope in his support for the Green Movement’s ultimate goal, which is a secular Iran where human rights and freedom reign.
For an understanding of who Rafsanjani is read Iran’s Power Broker’s Part 3 – Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani – The Shark.
While it is obviously helpful to the Green Movement when Rafsanjani confronts Khamenei and Ahmadinejad, as he appears to be doing (if only to counter their assaults on his reputation and power), people should be aware his assistance will be limited.
He recently put out a statement asking people to march on Ghods Day in support of the Palestinian cause. At the end of the statement he said:
God willing, your courageous presence in the Qods day rallies in Iran and across the globe, in villages and in the cities of dear Iran would awaken the disillusioned ones who think that the passage of time has dust coated the cause of Palestine; and you too be sure that the brightest day arrives after the darkest night.
Pay particular attention to the part highlighted in bold-face: “and you too be sure that the brightest day arrives after the darkest night.”
This appears to be direct message to the Iranian people. This is a good thing because anything that invigorates the Green Movement is a good thing. Support from the halls of power is required to move things forward.
But make no mistake, ultimately Rafsanjani wants the Islamic Republic to stay mostly the way it is. He just wants to neutralize the Khamenei-Ahamdinejad-IRGC alliance that is trying to tear the notion of “Republic” out of “Islamic Republic.” His interests will diverge from the people’s at the point that this is accomplished. During his eight-year presidency he did nothing to help the people in their quest for human rights and freedom. I don’t see any reason to think he has changed much. It’s just the circumstances that have changed in a way that impacts him directly, so he is siding with the Greens. For now.