Key member of ‘Death Commission’ tipped to be Rafsanjani’s successor

Key member of ‘Death Commission’ tipped to be Rafsanjani’s successor

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Ebrahim Raisi is a close ally to current Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. — Courtesy photo
Ebrahim Raisi is a close ally to current Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. — Courtesy photo

By Saleh Hamid

Unofficial reports suggest that a member of Iran’s infamous “Death Commission” will be the likely successor to the late Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani’s position as the head of the Expediency Council, a body which is intended to resolve disputes between the parliament and the Guardian Council.

Ebrahim Raisi is a 56-year-old conservative cleric relatively unknown outside of Iran but has been emerging as a frontrunner to replace the late former president Rafsanjani, who died on Sunday after suffering a heart attack.

One of Raisi’s most controversial roles has been serving with the “Death Commission” that, in the summer of 1988, oversaw the massacre of thousands of political prisoners.”

He is known to be a close ally to current Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and was once reported by The Guardian as being the “closest emerging front-runner” to replace him one day.

Raisi is also the custodian of Astan Quds Razavi, a charity organization in charge of Iran’s holiest shrine.

Rafsanjani was known for his fierce rivalry with Khamenei and mentoring what many to be the current voice of the moderates, Iranian President Hassan Rohani.

Followin Rafsanjani’s death, media outlets shed light on his role in the assassination of opposition figures in and outside Iran.

Rafsanjani’s involvement in these practices allegedly began with the execution of tens of thousands of political prisoners in 1988 when he was still parliament speaker. During the beginning of his term as president in 1989, Iran reportedly assassinated Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou, the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran, and his assistant Abdullah Azar in Vienna while they were at the negotiating table with a delegation that had arrived from Iran. On April 24, 1990, Iranian intelligence officials reportedly assassinated Kazem Rajavi, the brother of Iranian opposition leader Massoud Rajavi, in Vienna.

On May 3, 1991, Iran reportedly assassinated Hussein Madi, the secretary general of the Arab Front for the Liberation of Al-Ahwaz, in Baghdad where the front’s headquarters was located.

In 1991, the Iranian revolutionary guards reportedly assassinated Shapour Bakhtiar, the last prime minister of Iran under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlav, in France. — Al Arabiya English

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