Mahmoud Hashemi is an Iraqi mullah who came to Iran only after the mullahs seized power in 1979. He was among the founders of the "Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq" - a subsidiary of the Guards Corps used as a vehicle for exporting mullahs' terrorism and fundamentalism to Iraq. Hashemi was the Council's spokesman for several years. He continues to oversee the Iraqis' affairs through Balal Cultural Center in Tehran and similar structures set up in Vienna and London.
Khamenei is replacing intensely despised characters such as Judiciary Chief Yazdi and Mohsen Rafiqdoust, the ex-boss of the country's largest financial conglomerate, with his other close confidants. In doing so, he is following in the footsteps of the Shah, who replaced some of his top lieutenants in the final stage of his rule in a failed bid to reduce the explosive social tensions and discontent without losing control over these institutions.
Hashemi, a Khamenei confidant, has until now been a member of the watchdog Guardians Council, the Assembly for Discernment of State Exigencies, and the Assembly of Experts. He is among the key directors of the Islamic Culture and Communications Organization (ICCO), the "World Congress of Ahl al-Beit" and the Islamic Propaganda Organization. These agencies are among the most active in the export of terrorism and fundamentalism and in bankrolling these activities beyond Iran's borders. Hashemi is a long-time associate of ICCO chief Mohammad-Ali Taskhiri, who like Hashemi is an Iraqi mullah.
The decision to appoint Hashemi to the country's highest judicial office has aroused bitter protests inside the ruling cliques. Some officials have said the judiciary leadership change was like "jumping from the frying pan into the fire." Khamenei was alluding to such sentiments and the rising internal strife over the control of the judiciary when he wrote in his decree: "It is not welcome nor acceptable that anyone should try to undermine the judiciary." He implicitly acknowledged that the mullahs' judiciary, as the main agency responsible for executions and repression, is one of the most despised organs of the regime: "The judiciary has been able to make great achievements in recent years, despite sometimes vehement, widespread and deep opposition and enmity against it."
Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
August 15, 1999