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Issue No.23 - June 3, 1996

The "Rulers of Rafsanjan"


The now outlawed Tehran weekly Payam-e Daneshjou ("Message of theStudents" - formerly "Message of the Basij Students" until it changedits name earlier this year) has been publishing scurrilous attacks onPresident Hashemi-Rafsanjani, his family, and cronies.

In one report last month, the weekly published information onalleged embezzlement schemes orchestrated by Bonyad-e Mostazafanleader Mohsen Rafiqdoust. (Some of the information may have beenleaked from the 215 page Majlis investigation on the Bonyad, whichwas suppressed on orders of outgoing speaker Nateq Nouri at the endof May).

In a subsequent report published on May 14 entitled "The Rulers ofRafsanjan," the weekly launched a broadside against the Presidenthimself.

The Rafsanjan Pistachio Company, owned by Rafsanjani relatives,has created a "Mafia-style rule" over Rafsanjan city, the weeklyalleged. The weekly alleges that the company's owners, the fiveHashemian brothers (Mohammad, Ahmad, Hussein, Reza, and Mohsen),''have been engaged in tens of embezzlement and corruption cases."

Mohsen Hashemian, who serves as RPC deputy managing director, is aresident of Dubai and handles international marketing in the U.S.,Europe, and Japan. The weekly alleges that he and his brothers havetaken millions of dollars in commissions from U.S. and Europeancompanies engaged in the pistachio business (BFG Co., Franklin Co.,Pistaco Co., Omninut Co., and Firegreen Co.,) but provides nosupporting documentation.