The head of the Iranian judiciary has condemned the recent attacks against Ayatollah Heshemi Rafsanjani and his family, and warned that the judiciary will not tolerate such actions.
Larijani refrained from directly naming Ayatollah Rafsanjani as he told ISNA: “In recent days there have been instances of irreverence to officials and their families. This is, by all means, oppression.”
Ayatollah Larijani seems to be referring to the recent verbal attacks against Faezeh Hashemi, daughter of Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani who is the Chairman of Iran’s Expediency Council and Assembly of Experts.
Larijani added: “If we want to criticize an official or his family, there is a right way for doing so, and it does not mean that we can merely go on the street and take issue with them.”
During the last presidential campaign, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused Ayatollah Rafsanjani and his family of corruption. In response, the powerful cleric’s son filed a slander charge against Ahmadinejad.
In the summer of 2009, Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani came out in support of the opposition and those who challenged the results of the last presidential elections. When the government clamped down on protesters, he called for the release of all political prisoners and recommended an election recount.
The Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, on the other hand, backed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s victory, denounced the mass street protests and rebuked Ayatollah Rafsanjani for remaining silent in the face of those who challenge the government.
This rift between the two powerful clerics of the Islamic Republic has shaken the system to its foundations. However, Ayatollah Rafsanajani appears to have finally relented to the conservative pressure and changed his position on protests. When opposition leaders managed to rally tens of thousands of demonstrators to the streets on February 14, following a year of zero street presence, Ayatollah Rafsanjani condemned the protests and spoke out against the opposition for the first time.
Meanwhile, pro-government crowd have stepped up their attacks on Rafsanjani and his family. Crowds were shown on Iranian national television shouting “Death to Rafsanjani!” and his daughter was swarmed and verbally assaulted while attending a funeral.
Today the conservative MP Ali Motahari condemned the attacks against Ayatollah Rafsanjani’s daughter in a letter to the head of the judiciary, maintaining that the obscene language that was used deserves the judicial equivalent of “80 lashes.”
Motahari urged the judiciary to pursue and prosecute the perpetrators of such attacks.
Ayatollah Larijani told reporters that he will call on Tehran prosecutor to follow up on the matter.
However, Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi told reporters today that no charges have been filed in connection with these attacks, and while slandering public officials is a crime, attacks against their family members cannot be treated as such.