The Rafsanjanis’ influence in Iran once again growing?

Mehdi Hashemi Rafsanjani passing through immigration at Tehran airport late on Sunday

Reuters reports: The son of former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani returned to Iran from exile to answer charges of inciting unrest after a disputed election in 2009, fuelling speculation that Rafsanjani’s influence in Tehran may once again be growing.

Mehdi Hashemi Rafsanjani arrived in Tehran late on Sunday, Fars news agency reported, having spent three years in the United Kingdom following his alleged involvement in the widespread protests that followed the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Mehdi Rafsanjani had spent several days in Dubai and been expected to return to Iran on Sunday, an independent source told Reuters.

Analysts say his return indicates a deal has been agreed with authorities to resolve the charges he faces, and suggests his father’s political fortunes may be reviving.

Akbar Rafsanjani played a central role in the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran last month, being photographed walking alongside Iran’s most powerful authority, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and sat next to U.N. Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon.

As oil sanctions continue to bite and with a presidential election set for next year, some are tipping the pragmatic yet conservative Rafsanjani as a surprise candidate.

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