Who’s Who in Iranian Politics
Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli
Born in 1959 in the city of Shirvan, Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, the Interior Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran, is one of the most experienced Iranian Principalist officials. His executive experience is in different disciplines: one of his positions was as the head of Iran’s Supreme Audit Court. Prior to that, Rahmani Fazli was the political deputy of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, during Ali Larijani’s leadership of that organization.
During the fourth term of the Islamic Consultative Assembly, he was a representative from the city of Shirvan. He has also held the positions of deputy head of the High Council of National Security and the social, cultural, and media deputy of the council during Ali Larijani’s tenure.
Among his other work experiences are as periodic president of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) and the head of the news department at the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU).
When Ali Larijani was the head of the IRIB, he was his deputy and when Larijani was the Speaker of the Parliament, he was appointed by him as the head of the Supreme Audit Court.
He has a Masters degree in human geography from Ferdowsi University in Mashhad and a PhD from Tarbiat Modarres University. Since 2003, he has taught at Beheshti University in Tehran, as an associate professor of Earth Sciences.
Rahmani Fazli naturally has close relations with Ali Larijani and was his deputy in the High Council of Radio and TV. He has accompanied Ali Larijani in most of his governmental posts. During the ninth presidential election in 2005, he was the head of IRIB’s election headquarters. He was then accused of taking sides with Ali Larijani. Following the election of Dr. Hassan Rohani as the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, he was nominated as the Minister of Interior.
With regard to the rumors which were spread about his nomination as being the cabinet “quota” of the Speaker of the Parliament, Rahmani Fazli has stated: “There are many assessments for my nomination as the Interior Minister saying that Rahmani Fazli is the share of so-and-so. This is while I must say that I have known Mr. Rouhani since twenty years ago when I was a member of the Group of Wisdom in the Parliament. Later, Mr. Rouhani offered me the position of deputy of the High Council of National Security, which did not happen and I worked in the IRIB. But my relations with Mr. Rouhani were never cut off. “
Mr. Rahmani Fazli said: When Mr. Rouhani offered me the position of Interior Minister, I did not discuss his proposal with anybody until our third meeting. Personally, I preferred to help the new government in the Supreme Audit Court.
The Minister of Interior then said: After our third meeting, I discussed the matter with Ali Larijani. Mr. Larijani reiterated that it is the duty of all of us to help the government.
Rahmani Fazli, like Hussein Dehghan, the new Iranian Defense Minister, had no opposition in the parliament’s confirmation process; Kuchakzadeh and Assadi had registered to express their opposition to his nomination, but later withdrew.
When Hassan Rouhani spoke in the Parliament in defense of his cabinet and introduced every single one of his proposed ministers, he said the following about Rahmani Fazli: With regard to Mr. Rahmani Fazli, it suffices to say that he was a member of the Group of Wisdom. Anyone who was a member of this group had to be moderate, believing in consultation, and knowledgeable.
But what is the Group of Wisdom and who were its members?
What the President has pointed out was not well studied, but the important point is the history of the Islamic Revolution in the first decade. The Group of Wisdom is a familiar name among those who are interested in the history of the Islamic Revolution, and the critical issue of the ending of the war and Resolution 598.
Several months prior to his election as the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, in an interview with the monthly magazine Nasime Bidari, talked about the Group of Wisdom and stated: “There was a group called the Group of Wisdom from the second to the fifth Parliament. It had more than 30 members. This group was bipartisan. Our goal was to gather any individual who had knowledge about different issues and who was influential. In the beginning, this group was formed to study the issue of the war. For example, Mr. Karoubi, Mr. Yazdi, Mr. Bayat Zanjani, Mr. Movahed Kermani were members of this group, and this group continued its work until the fifth parliament.”
Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani has also mentioned this group in his memoirs. On page 113 of his book, dated 10th of Khordad, he writes: “Imam (Khomeini) said that based on the report of the Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, several members of the parliament have talked about the problems caused by the war in a meeting and proposed that the war to be ended. He has asked me to tell them that we must fight until our last man and they should not talk about peace.”
The Group of Wisdom and its role in managing the war and the process of its ending and the acceptance of Resolution 598 is one of the issues which, despite its historical importance, was not much discussed by the media.
During Ahmadinejad’s presidency, Rahmani Fazli was the head of the Supreme Audit Court whose report of the 2012 budget deficit became national news. While stating that the Supreme Audit Court has presented a ten month report of the financial performance and incomes of 2012 to the parliament, he said: “If we make all possible efforts in the current year, more than 50% of the incomes would not be achieved and we will be faced with a 50% budget deficit.” While explaining the economic situation of the country and the instability of the price of foreign currency and gold in the current year, he added: “Instability in the economy of the country’s gold and currency as the main indexes in the economy will damage the country. The reason is that stability in the price of currency is very important and if we had determined the price of US dollars as 2000 Tomans instead of 1226 Tomans from the beginning and made efforts to keep it fixed, we would have endured less pressure.
The Head of the Supreme Audit Court had mentioned the area of banks and oil as the main problems between the Court and the government of Ahmadinejad, stating, “We had great problems with the macro-decisions which were made in the government with regard to the issue of banks and oil.” Based on his statements, the future perspective shows that we will not have more incomes in the coming year, for the sanctions have exerted great pressures on the country and any other country under such sanctions would have collapsed by now.