Asre Iran editorial, “Hashemi, the biggest winner of elections”: Hashemi Rafsanjani proved for the umpteenth time what a seasoned politician he is in the fullest sense of the word. The story of the elections and his surprising involvement has revived him and made him the most important winner of these elections for several reasons:
- He presented his candidacy and triggered a tremendous wave of support for him personally and participation in the elections in general. Several weeks later, the great wave of support generated for him was directed towards Hassan Rouhani. If Rafsanjani had not submitted his candidacy, the tsunami of popular support (“the perfect storm”) would not have been generated, and nothing would have happened on June 14th.
- Rafsanjani’s disqualification increased his popularity and his smart silence inspired trust. In addition, his disqualification ensured that the disqualification of the government’s candidate, Mashaei, was pushed to the sidelines and was not an issue for public discussion. Furthermore, since Rafsanjani remained silent, government officials (supporters of Mashaei) also did not have any room to stir up controversy around the issue of the disqualification.
- The extreme reformists recently sharply attacked Rafsanjani. Rafsanjani, however, who is experienced and patient, established a relationship with the reformists, in which he ultimately managed to position himself at the top of the reformist pyramid alongside Mohammad Khatami. Hashemi’s patience and composure have made him one of the reformists’ treasures. In contrast, all those who expected him to launch an attack following his disqualification were sorely disappointed and increased the loyalty of supporters of the regime with regards to his commitment to the Islamic regime. In fact, Hashemi reaped the rewards of his patience.
- His behavior over the past month neutralized all plots that were formed against him in recent years. The claim can no longer be made that Rafsanjani is a product without demand. In the final days before the elections, when a large percentage of the public did not yet know for whom they would vote, Rafsanjani expressed official and public support of Rouhani and asked the public to vote for him. Rafsanjani can now claim that if his choice (Rouhani) won so many votes, he himself would have received even more votes so that his opponents and critics would know that the attempt to marginalize him is completely worthless.
- Without being elected president and assuming the heavy burden of the presidency, Rafsanjani facilitated the election of his candidate of choice and did so with the support of millions of citizens. He directed the arena, thereby neutralizing all of the plots and schemes of the other political current over the past weeks that were formulated over several years. Rafsanjani became the big winner of the elections. The transformation of his disqualification into victory is an art that only people like Hashemi can pull off.