Forbes Opinion #ForeignAffairs
by Ali Safavi
Mr. Safavi (@amsafavi) is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran.
In autumn of 1985, I attended a hearing on Iran at the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “Who is this Iranian leader who wants to change Iran’s policies?” one lawmaker asked the expert, referring to Parliament Speaker Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani as a “moderate.” As an Iranian living in exile, I was stunned. “Where are they getting this idea that Rafsanjani is a moderate?” I whispered to a colleague
The answer came a year later, when the Iran-Contra Affair broke. On November 4, 1986, it was Rafsanjani who told the story of U.S. emissaries presenting a Bible, a revolver and a key-shaped cake to Iran as a friendly gesture to facilitate the release of American hostages in Lebanon in exchange for arms shipments to Tehran. Speaking at the former U.S. embassy in Tehran, Rafsanjani chose the anniversary of the embassy takeover to embarrass the United States.
Subsequent investigations in the U.S. confirmed that the American delegation had met with Rafsanjani and his protégé, current president Hassan Rouhani. As Secretary of State George Shultz put it, the mullahs had taken the U.S. to the cleaners.
It suddenly made sense. A carefully crafted narrative, with crucial input from Rafsanjani himself, had led that congressman and the pundits in Washington to view Rafsanjani as a “moderate.”
Read More: http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2017/02/03/rafsanjanis-death-could-end-3-decades-of-western-fantasies-about-iran/#5c9bc1e87578