Former Iran president Rafsanjani's son begins 10-year sentence on corruption, security charges

Iran's official IRNA news agency is reporting that a son of former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has begun a 10-year prison sentence after his conviction on corruption and security charges.

Before entering Tehran's Evin prison on Sunday, Mahdi Hashemi Rafsanjani reportedly called his conviction "unjust" and "politically motivated."

He once again called for his closed-door trial to be broadcast on state television, a request already rejected by authorities. Several members of Rafsanjani's family stood by his side before he entered the prison.

Critics view Rafsanjani's trial and conviction as a way for hard-liners to weaken his father ahead of crucial parliamentary elections in February. A simultaneous vote also will elect members of the Assembly of Experts, a top clerical body that appoints or dismisses the country's supreme leader.