„Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was the original Mr. Moderation. Western observers saw the former Iranian president as a sort of Deng Xiaoping in clerical robes: a founder of the Islamic Republic who was destined to transform the country into a normal state. Rafsanjani, they thought, was too corrupt to be an ideologue. Yet Rafsanjani, who died Sunday at 82, consistently defied such hopes. His life and legacy remind us that fanaticism and venality aren’t mutually exclusive. It’s a lesson in the persistence of Western fantasies about the Iranian regime. (…)
The regime’s Western apologists framed that rivalry as a genuine ideological conflict between the ‚hard-line‘ Mr. Khamenei and the ‚pragmatic,‘ ‚moderate‘ Rafsanjani (along with others, such as current President Hassan Rouhani). President Obama’s nuclear deal was premised on the same fantasy: Rafsanjani had accumulated vast, ill-gotten wealth – here’s someone with whom we can do business.
Yet Rafsanjani never failed to follow the ‚Line of the Imam,‘ not least in foreign affairs. Khomeini turned terror into a plank of Iranian statecraft, and so it remained. (…) Still the illusions die hard. Minutes after Rafsanjani’s death was announced, the New York Times’s Tehran correspondent tweeted that it ‚is a major blow to moderates and reformists in Iran.‘ “ (Sohrab Ahmari: „Rafsanjani Was Iran’s Mythical ‚Moderate‘“)