Why is Rafsanjani’s son studying at Oxford?
When NATO planes launched their air campaign over Libya’s skies last spring and Western leaders said that Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi had to go, the first regime to change was at the London School of Economics. Its director, Sir Howard Davies, resigned following embarrassing dis-closures about LSE’s financial links to Libya and sizable donations from Qaddafi’s anointed heir, his son Saif al-Islam, who’d been awarded a doctoral degree from LSE. It seems that British academic institutions have yet to learn the lesson. For now it’s the United Kingdom’s oldest and most distinguished university, Oxford, that has brought scandal upon itself by giving a place to a Middle Eastern despot’s son—a scion of the Islamic Republic of Iran who has already distinguished himself as a human rights abuser and a torturer.
Oxford University’s Wolfson College, which the late Sir Isaiah Berlin helped establish, is now the academic home of 42-year-old Mehdi Hashemi Bahramani Rafsanjani, the fourth child of former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. These days, Rafsanjani the elder styles himself a champion of Iran’s reformists. But having tied the family fortune and its connections to the cause of challenging current president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad does not make Rafsanjani a liberal democrat. In addition to the violence and repression he is responsible for inside Iran, he has also been one of the Islamic Republic’s chief exporters of terrorism. As president, Rafsanjani dispatched Iranian hitmen to kill Iranian exiles across Europe. There is an arrest warrant against him from Argentinian prosecutors for the 1994 bombing of a Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people. The son it seems has followed in his father’s path.