He writes that when he heard about the death of Rafsanjani, he had a flashback to Istanbul, Turkey, on March 14, 1990. Hossein Abedini was in Istanbul, and Rafsanjani’s henchmen were there, too. That was when he encountered them directly.
He writes, “It was mid-afternoon and I was sitting next to the driver taking me to the Istanbul airport. As the driver and I were discussing ways to evade the traffic jam that was caused by an accident, a car carrying four men suddenly blocked our path. And then came a bang. Another car pinned us in from behind. Seconds later, two strange men, one from the front car and one from the car behind, jumped out with automatic weapons. As the assailants approached, I had a few seconds to decide how to avoid becoming sitting ducks. I opened the car door and rushed at them carrying only a small Samsonite briefcase. One of the men fired nine bullets; the other man’s gun jammed. I was shot in the chest and stomach and gravely wounded. The assailants fled. I fell unconscious, my battle for survival just begun.”
Fortunately, Abedini was close to Istanbul’s International Hospital, where he was rushed. He says, “I was in a deep coma for 40 days, and unconscious for three months. With 80 percent of my liver gone, I was written off by my doctors several times. One bullet hit very close to my heart. I went through 14 operations and was given 154 pints of blood. In one of the operations, the odds for my survival were one to one hundred.”
Abedini is a member of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the coalition of Iranian opposition movements, with the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, the principal Iranian opposition movement at its core, and he believes that the assailants were acting at the behest of the clerical regime.
It later became apparent that the hitmen weren’t after him. The Iranian state radio confirmed a few days later, that the actual target was Mohammad Mohaddessin, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the NCRI.
Once the regime realized that they failed, they tried to kill him in the hospital two times. The first time, assassins disguised as Turkish police approached the hospital; coincidentally, the Turkish police arrived at the hospital at the same time and foiled the plot. The second time, two men pretended that they were his friends and found his room in the hospital. They were really agents of the Iranian regime. He was lucky; several real friends came to visit at the same time, and the would-be murderers fled.
“Actually, I am one of very few who has survived the mullahs’ assassination attempts,” Abedini says, adding, “All this took place while Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was the clerical regime’s president.”
It is relevant to know Rafsanjani’s real legacy. Some in the West portrayed him as a “moderate,” and “pragmatic” for the past three decades, but in reality he was the same as the rest of the mullahs.
Assassinations of Iranian dissidents abroad and the regime’s terror attacks skyrocketed during Rafsanjani’s tenure as the president and as the head of the Supreme National Security Council, according to Abedini.
Iran’s most renowned human-rights activist, Professor Kazem Rajavi, was gunned down in broad daylight by hitmen while driving near his house in Geneva in 1990. Thirteen Iranian officials with passports stamped “Special Mission” were implicated by the Swiss. Several Iranian Kurdish leaders were murdered in Vienna in 1989 and in Berlin in 1992. The list goes on, and the terror targets were not only Iranians. Tehran masterminded the bombing of Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996, resulting in the deaths of 19 American servicemen, according to evidence established by the FBI. Rafsanjani was directly implicated by Interpol in the bombing of the Jewish center in Buenos Aires, Argentina on July 18, 1994. Rafsanjani played a key role in the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners, primarily activists of the MEK, in summer of 1988, an incident that has been described as one of the worst crimes against humanity since the Second World War.
Additionally, the secret drive to acquire nuclear weapons got a real boost during his tenure, particularly after the first Persian Gulf War in 1991.
Rafsanjani’s death is a major development insofar as it pertains to the future of the theocracy ruling Iran. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran underscored that, with the death of Rafsanjani, “one of the two pillars and key to the equilibrium of the regime has collapsed and the regime in its entirety is approaching overthrow.” Rafsanjani who had always been the regime’s number two, acted as its balancing factor and played a decisive role in its preservation.
Rafsanjani’s death may result in the regime losing its internal and external equilibrium. This means that the outlook for the regime’s future has become significantly bleaker, especially in light of the other crises Tehran faces.