RAFSANJANI, Hojatolislam Akbar Hashemi
DOB:1934 in the village of Rafsanjan. His father, Ali Hashemi, was a clergyman and farmer, who with the sweat of his brow used a little water and land to provide the needs of an 11 member family (of nine children) on an average level. Mr. Ali Hashemi studied religious sciences for some time and became knowledgeable of the Quran and Islamic principles, and the Hashemi family was practically the religious authority of its local area.
E: Since there were no schools near the village, Mr. Rafsanjani started his studies in a Maktab (school) at the age of five under an elderly Seyed. At the age of nine, in addition to his education, he helped out his father in his farming work. At the age of 14 (1948) he went to Qom for further religious studies, and started his student period by receiving a small monthly sum from his father. He was encouraged mainly by his father and an elder cousin. During this period, in addition to religious education, he spent summer vacations following high school studies. He studied his Howzeh subjects under general teachers, and during later years he studied under famous scholars of the Qom Theological School, specially Imam Khomeini, Ayatollah Borujerdi, Allameh Tabatabai and Ayatollah Montazeri. The teacher that had the greatest influence on the spirit of Mr. Hashemi and to whom he was greatly indebted for learning religious sciences, was Imam Khomeini. Mr. Hashemi studied under him for about seven years. During the last years of this period, Mr. Hashemi travelled during summers and on the occasion of Moharram and Safar to provincial and rural areas of the country preaching and helping the people. He preached from the pulpit. In 1957, with the cooperation of Mr. Bahonar (the martyred prime minister of Iran) and a number of eminent scholars, he founded a publishing organization called "The School of Shiism". It published seven issues of its yearly publication and four issues of its "seasonal magazine."
C: The activities and struggles of Mr. Hashemi can be divided into three periods:
First period: When Hashemi came to Qom, the activities of the Fedayeen Islam had reached their height, and the late Ayatollah Kashani, the then political combatant and authority, had command. During the period when the movement for the nationalization of the Iranian oil industry occurred, Hashemi also joined the people in their demonstrations, protests, meetings, and in distribution of political pamphlets.
Second period: During this short period between the military coup of 1953 and the start of Imam Khomeini's revolutionary movement, Mr. Hashemi along with other combatants, made efforts to increase the people's political awareness by writing articles and making speeches. Although the struggles were not direct, however during this period, i.e. the religious authority of Ayatollah Borujerdi, the theological schools stressed more on self purification and preparation rather than direct struggles on the scene.
Third period: From 1961 onwards, when Imam Khomeini directly launched political struggles. Mr. Hashemi, like other pupils of the Imam, was chosen because of his strong morale, high scholarly level, and his eminent qualities. For Mr. Hashemi and his co thinkers the Imam was the source of authority and leader. This period continued through the struggles against the former regime until the final downfall of the defunct regime.
PRISON AND ARREST
Mr. Hashemi during his struggles was arrested repeatedly and imprisoned:
1 In 1963 after the tragedy of the attack on Feizieh, he was arrested and in violation of laws (excluding religious students) was drafted into the military. For two months he received military training in barracks, but after the bloody incident of Khordad 15 sensing danger he escaped from the barracks.
2 In 1964 he was again arrested and for almost five months spent time in prison under the worst conditions and was tortured. He was accused of participation in the assassination of Hassanali Mansour (then late prime minister). But in reality he had been arrested for writing the book "The Palestinian Story: Black Record of Colonialism" and making speeches against the Shah's regime.
3 In 1967 he was arrested on charges of protesting against the crowning of the Shah and spent three months in jail.
4 In 1971 he was again arrested and put in prison for seven months on charges of collaborating with the "Mujahideen Khalq".
5 In 1972 he was arrested on charges of helping the families of prisoners and spent one and a half month in jail.
6 In 1975 he was arrested for trying to find a healthy path for the Mujahideen Khalq, which had become deviated. This time he was imprisoned for three years and tortured and finally was released from prison in 1978 three months before the victory of the Islamic Revolution of Iran.
In 1978, after liberation from imprisonment, the Imam at the height of the struggles of Muslims, appointed Mr. Rafsanjani as member of an oil delegation to Abadan for provision of domestic consumption.
With the creation of the Revolutionary Council, he became a member and made great efforts in administering the country.
In 1979, he founded the Islamic Republic Party with the aid of Martyr Ayatollah Beheshti, Ayatollah Khamenei, Hojatolislam Martyr Bahonar and Ayatollah Musavi Ardebili and a number of other comrades.
In 1979 he was also appointed Interior Minister, and an assassination attempt was made against him in vain by the Forqan mercenary group, after he made a fiery speech against U.S. imperialist policies. But despite being wounded by shots, he escaped unharmed.
In 1980, he obtained 1,151,541 votes as Majlis candidate representing the people of Tehran, and then was appointed Speaker of the Majlis.
In 1981, after the start of the Iraqi imposed war, the Imam appointed him as his representative in the Supreme Defense Council, where he acted as the Imam's spokesman.
In 1983 he was elected as representative from Tehran in the Assembly of Experts.
In late 1984, coinciding with his re election as the Majlis Speaker, he was appointed a member of the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution by a decree issued by the Imam.
In 1988,Imam Khomeini, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, appointed Mr. Hashemi in a decree to succeed him in this position and as direct head of the Armed Forces.
In 1989, he was elected president of the Islamic Republic with a huge majority of votes totalling 15537394, and began his first four year term as president.
Rafsanjani married a lady from a family of clerics at the age of 35 in 1959. He has two daughters and three sons.
PUBLICATIONS AND SPEECHES OF MR. HASHEMI RAFSANJANI
"The Palestinian Story, or the Black Record of Colonialism."
Various articles in "Maktab Tashayoh"
Discussions on "social justice" (Tehran Friday prayer sermons)
Collection of speeches made in Majlis
Collection of speeches, statements, interviews and lectures
"The World in the Era of Bethat", with collaboration of Hojatolislam Dr. Bahonar.
Academic notes from period of his religious studies.
"Key to Quran": notes on themes, meanings and topics in the Holy Quran (compiled in prison as topical interpretation of the Quran)