Rafsanjani’s daughter urges Iran to separate religion, politics

Tehran:The daughter of former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani on Monday called for a separation of religion and politics in Iran and criticized a lack of freedom and repression under the current regime.

Rafsanjani (1934- 2017) was one of the founding fathers of the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979 and served as the fourth President of the country between 1989-97.

“For several years now I have believed that religion and politics do not work together, because religion is a personal thing for each individual,” Faezeh Rafsanjani told Efe news in an interview conducted at the Rafsanjani museum, which was inaugurated a few months ago to memorialize the late statesman.

Faezeh Rafsanjani, who was a member of Parliament between 1996 and 2000, added that this separation would benefit religion itself.

The founder of the Islamic system in Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, rejected such a separation describing it as “American Islam”. The second and current Supreme Leader of Iran Ali Khamenei has also dismissed the idea.

Faezeh Rafsanjani, however, has publicly expressed her criticism of the Iranian judicial and political systems for years and was even imprisoned for six months after being charged for promoting propaganda against Iran during the Iranian Green Movement in 2009, a pro-democracy protest.

She said that the Islamic revolution, led by Khomeini alongside her father, had not completed its objectives but it had rather limited people’s freedom.

Faezeh Rafsanjani said the motto of the revolution was independence, freedom as well as the establishment of an Islamic state, stressing that it had not called for an “Islamic Republic”.

She also lamented compulsory hijab laws in Iran.

Iran recently hit the global media spotlight after US President Donald Trump decided to withdraw from the 2015 international nuclear deal, which had seen the Iranian regime swap its nuclear programme for a partial lifting of sanctions.

The remaining signatories, which included Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom, Germany and the EU, criticized the Trump administration for the move as international monitors had consistently found Tehran was abiding by the pact.