Faezeh Hashemi Rafsanjani (pictured), daughter of former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, is a reformer, just like her late father. And one of the things she wants to see reformed is Iran’s policy of hostility vis-à-vis Israel.
More specifically, she suggested to a leading reformist newspaper last week that Iran should stop making its foreign policy a hostage to the Palestinian nationalist cause. That’s a sentiment shared by a growing number of Arab states.
To be clear, Rafsanjani is no admirer of the Jewish state. But she recognizes, much like the leaders of the Arab Gulf states, that the region is moving on from the old conflicts, and that there’s more to be gained from cooperation with Israel.
According to Rafsanjani, it is impossible to ignore that the “Zionist regime” occupied “Palestinian lands” and oppresses the Palestinian population. However, she noted that a lot had happened since 1948 that also can’t be ignored, and that Iran needed to change with the times. After all, Rafsanjani pointed out that conflict and war had resulted in many nations splitting or uniting in many parts of the world.
She also called out the hypocrisy of hating Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians, while at the same time maintaining warm relations with Syria, China and Russia, all of which are currently persecuting various Muslim populations. In addition to that, Iran is cozy with Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea despite the vast ideological differences between them.
Whatever form future Iran-Israel relations take, Rafsanjani was adamant that the Jewish state can no longer be viewed as a temporary intruder in the Muslim world. Israel is here to stay, and its existence must be accepted.
Dr. Raz Zimmt, who reported on Rafsanjani’s interview for Israel’s Walla! News, said that she represents a small but growing segment of the Iranian public, especially among the younger generation, who no longer see any reason to be “more Palestinian than the Palestinians.” Dr. Zimmt is an expert on Iran at Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies (INSS).