Faezeh Hashemi Rafsanjani, daughter of former Iran president, sentenced to prison

Faezeh Hashemi Rafsanjani, the daughter of former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, has been convicted of "anti-state propaganda" and sentenced to six months in prison, the Associated Press reported.

Faezeh Hashemi, a former MP, was arrested for taking part in anti-government protests last year, and her trial took place behind closed doors last month, BBC News reported.

According to Mashreghnews.ir, a conservative website, Hashemi has been banned from taking part in political, cultural and media activities for the next five years. Her punishment may be turned into a suspended jail term on appeal, according to her lawyer, BBC reported. 

Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani served two terms as president from 1989 to 1997, and is believed to be one of the wealthiest and most politically powerful men in Iran, CNN reported.

According to Reuters, Iran has piled immense pressure on the opposition ahead of a parliamentary election on March 2. The election will be the first test of the clerical establishment's popularity since the 2009 vote which was said to have been rigged.

Rafsanjani is the head of the Expediency Council, a powerful body that resolves disputes between parliament and the clerical body. He sided with the pro-reformers after the vote in 2009, and his political influence has decreased in recent years.  

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