Al-Monitor‘s Eskandar Sadeghi-Boroujerdi has posted the Baztab video of former Iran president Hashemi Rafsanjani embracing his son, before he is taken to Evin Prison.
Mehdi Hashemi returned to Iran this week after three years’ exile in London and Dubai, after being accused of “playing an important role in stoking the protests and unrest,” that followed Iran’s disputed 2009 presidential elections, Eskandar writes.
The video seems to show an unusually intimate glimpse of the former Iranian president, who is among Iran’s wealthiest businessman, and whose political influence remains a subject of regime suspicion ahead of the 2013 presidential elections. As it was designed to, says Eskandar.
“The release of this video of Rafsanjani embracing his son before he leaves for Evin prison is an attempt to humanise this ‘aqazadeh’ (noble born, the term used for the sons of powerful clerics in the political establishment) and most likely arouse sympathy for Mehdi Hashemi, after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his administration has long sought to tap into populist resentment at what many Iranians have come to see as an entitled class of elite children, who have aggrandized themselves politically and above all economically from their fathers’ power and patronage,” Eskandar writes.
Along with the Iran government’s shut down this week of Gmail and Google–using the patently bogus excuse that the public had demanded it to protest YouTube’s posting of the anti-Islam video–recent developments offer ominous signs that Iran is preparing for a dark time ahead.