It seems like the fight over Azad University with its 230-300 thousand billion tomans of wealth, seizing control of which has always been a source of conflict between regime’s rival bands, has stepped up following Rafsanjani’s death.
Starting its operation in 1970’s, the Azad University sent some of its graduates to study abroad on scholarships in 1975. Student admission began in 1978 on a limited basis, but was interrupted for two years under the pretext of ‘cultural revolution’ following the anti-monarchy revolution and the Iranian regime’s coming to power.
Two years after regime’s so-called ‘cultural revolution’, Azad University was re-established by Rafsanjani in 1982, while taking the University’s presidential seat has ever since been the subject of power struggle between regime’s rival bands.
With Rafsanjani gone, regime’s leader Ali Khamenei has got a good chance to fully take control of Azad University by pulling it out of Rafsanjani’s family and his guys’ hands, thus compensating to some extent for his defeat in presidential election show, with Khamenei’s arm in this mission being his close advisor Ali-Akbar Velayti.
In an article titled ‘the new wave of dismissals and appointments’, state-run Arman newspaper has written on 3 June ”Hashemi Rafsanjani’s son Yaser was sacked two days ago from chair of Azad University’s Board of Trustees. It was also announced yesterday that directors of three media belonging to Azad University, namely ‘Ana’ and ‘Iskanews’ news agencies as well as ‘Farhikhtegan’ newspaper, have also been dismissed, with their farewell ceremony being held on the same day.”
Meanwhile, representative of Student Basij said durig his Friday Prayers speech on June 2 “Mr. Velayati has infuriated the power and wealth mafia by disrupting their dominance over Azad University, while he has sacked in a quite legal move the chair of the University as well as some of officials’ children, thus cutting their hands off tuitions and public wealth.”
Also regime’s MP Alireza Salimi addressed Rafsanjani-Rouhani’s band on June 3, saying that Azad University is not a family heritage belonging to a specific faction or group. “Mr. Velayati intends to sack those who are sucking the juice off Azad University, and that’s why they’ve started complaining”, he added.
It seems as if Khamenei’s band is not only seeking to cut Rafsanjani’s family and his guys’ hands off Azad University, but they’re also trying to threaten their rival into remaining silent or otherwise face even worse consequences.
Mohammad Mohammading, head of Khamenei’s representative office in universities, has said in this regard on June 3 that “Dr. Velayati’s move to sack Yaser Hashemi was quite appropriate. Besides, it would still be necessary that a panel of experts begin investigating into the office’s activities and expenses, and give their report to university’s Board of Trustees.”
In the meantime, the reactions from Rafsanjani-Rouhani band in this regard have been a mix of sigh and cry-out on one hand and turning to Rouhani on the other, so that, as they put it, he take the train back on track.
State-run Rooz-e-No website writes in this regard on 3 June “what’s too strange, is Ali-Akbar Velayati’s approach as the chair of Azad University’s Board of Trustees. As a political figure that has always been close to Rafsanjani and now has even taken his seat, Velayati has revealed another aspect of his character, taking decisions totally against Rafsanjani’s positions. Velayati has turned into a puzzle for statesmen today.”
Also state-run Aftab newspaper writes on June 3 “now more than two million students, professors, and employees of Azad University are waiting for the head of the executive branch and the guardian of constitution to take Azad University’s train back on track of law, so that we see lawful developments, not suspected illegal changes that are going to hurt and worry the scientific, cultural community.”
But it seems that in the absence of Rafsanjani, Rohani can’t do anything much in this regard, though he’ll definitely seek to retaliate against this blow somewhere else. After all, as they say, the story goes on.