After 5 months, Expediency Council found a new chairperson, and Hashemi Shahroodi replaced Hashemi Rafsanjani, but what a great difference there is between the two. Hashemi Shahroodi is the newcomer of Iranian politics; he has dual nationality and was born in Karbala, Iraq. He came to Iran after the Iranian revolution, became head of Supreme Council of Iraq, and started fighting Saddam from Tehran. For two terms, he was head of Iran’s judiciary system, and in fact was one of the few men who has reached chairmanship, disregarding his nationality.
There is only one strong quotation from Hashemi Shahroodi: at the beginning of his becoming chief justice, he called the judiciary system he had inherited from Mohammad Yazdi a ruin, nothing else.
It has been said that Hashemi Shahroodi, in the beginning of his presence in the judiciary system, wanted to remove Saeed Mortazavi. But Mortazavi was closely connected to the leader’s office. Hashemi Shahroodi who has received everything from the regime soon became isolated in the judiciary ruin until his term was over. However, Mortazavi still remained there. In the Board of Settling Disputes of Three Branches, Hashemi Shahroodi was the chairman by leader’s appointment, but no one listened to him. At the time, the president was Ahmadinejad, and he would not listen to any one.
Now with this old age, weakness, and sickness, the leader once again has shown his kindness by giving the chairmanship of Expediency Council to Hashemi Shahroodi. And all are happy.
Hashemi Shahroodi will not do anything, nor will stop things from happening. Moreover, in the Iranian Republic, they call this redundancy being moderate. Expediency Discernment Council whose name was tied with Hashemi Rafsanjani is one of that peculiar institute in Iranian politics, indicating the deadlock in a juridical state.
From the beginning, the jurists of Guardian Council represented the traditional group from Qum Seminary who knew nothing about the contemporary world, nor did they have any clear vision in understanding the religion. They were full of traditions and hadiths, with “jahiliyyah” prejudices. One proof is enough: Abolghassem Khazali knew Nahj al Balagha by heart and did not believe an iota in people’s rights and powers in determining their own destiny.
Apart from the lack of common sense in Guardian Council, these people didn’t even understand what is to the benefit of the regime and power. That was why the process of legislation reached a deadlock: there was a dispute between the parliament and Guardian Council over labor law in the middle of 1980s, and later there was a conflict between religion whose custodians were jurists and legality which was represented by the parliament over the veto right which the constitutional law had considered for Guardian Council.
Since in Iran things advance with a little reason and a lot of coercion, instead of changing the jurists in Guardian Council or rethinking the foundations of jurisprudence and understanding religion, Expediency Council was established. And with the 1989 amendment of the constitutional law, it became more powerful so that it could compensate for the inadequate reason of the jurists in Guardian Council.
The main duty of this council is to judge between the parliament and Guardian Council. The form of appointing members of this council is more like senates in monarchies where the king – in the case of Iran, the supreme leader – appoints a group. There are only a few legal members such as the president and speaker of the parliament who are not appointed by the leader. Well, if we think about it, this council which is appointed by the leader can be a symbol for governance without people’s votes, where a group of elders are sitting beside the supreme leader, and the result is a prime minister with powers of heading the supreme leader’s office, of course, we haven’t reached there yet.
With the passage of time, old age, and disability of Iranian Republic’s politicians, Expediency Council has become a center for those who have retired from the politics but are still favored by the leader. Hashemi Rafsanjani, former lifetime head of this council, endured in this position to the end, and though he lost many positions, he held onto this chairmanship because this council is the outlet of the regime. The leader had certain considerations and could not uproot Hashemi, so he let this insignificant position for his old friend.
Expediency Council during Hashemi was full of those who were once working with Hashemi, and in fact was like a faded memory of the time when Hashemi was in power. Hashemi was trying to change this Council into regime’s think tank, where general strategies and policies of the regime would be prepared and formulated and then announced to lower officials including the president. According to the constitutional law of Iran, which is full of contradiction, the leader must consult with this council to determine the regime’s policies. But this consultation is just formalities – there is no obligation for him to do it, nor would there be anything but praise and appreciations with this combination that the leader has created in this council.
Nevertheless, anyway, this was what Hashemi hoped for and dreamed of. This council’s Center for Strategic Researches in which curiously some of the nonconformists were involved and did some extensive researches in the regime’s foreign and domestic policies –sometimes offering strange results – was Hashemi’s achievement in his isolation in this council. One can be sure that this heritage of Hashemi will soon be gone with this new combination and chairmanship.
With Hashemi’s dubious death in a swimming pool, the leader had an open hand to confiscate Hashemi Rafsanjani’s state properties. Azad University was in priority, and soon after Hashemi’s death, the Board of Trustees of Azad University changed, and eventually, Farhad Rahbar was appointed as this university’s president – which was like a flag of leader’s victory there. There was no rush. Everything was going its way, and there was no one in the council to disagree with the leader. It has been a while that this backyard of the regime is empty of key figures.
Now Expediency Council has another function; the combination of the council shows the leader’s choice and taste. The leader tries to gather together in this elderly group whoever fails in the election and has no popularity. Now all three fundamentalists who were decisively defeated in the presidential election are present there, Raisi, Ghalibaf, Mir-Salim. It is fair to say that Hashemitaba, the other presidential candidate close to reformists, is only good for this consultation and Expediency Council, but apparently, the leader did not appoint him because of his efficiency.
The group whose views are closer to the leader are millions of years away from the Iranian society. The two reformists –Aref and Majid Ansari – who have entered this council are more of conformists. Interestingly, Hassan Rouhani with more than 20 million votes is a legal member of this council, which means that 4 years from now he will be automatically removed from the council, while Ahmad Janati is both a legal and non-legal member of the council. It seems that the leader is afraid, lest there be a council without the presence of this stone statue.
The members of Expediency Council who have been favored by the leader can be sure they are immune from any prosecutions or trials. Ghalibaf can be sure that his 12 years full of corruption in the municipality will go unpunished due to the leader’s trust and add his name to the council. Even Ahmadinejad can sneer that until further notice and with all his stubbornness, he is and will be with the regime. Due to some discretions, he will remain with among regime’s staff. The benefit of the regime and the leader can be seen in the combination of the council; what cannot be seen is the interests of Iran and Iranians.
Translated Piece: Zaitoun Website
Opinions in this article reflect the writer’s point of view, not necessarily the view of The Arabain GCIS