Iran’s ex-President Akbar Hashimi Rafsanjani suffered a heart attack at 82
Former Iranian’s President, Ayatollah Akbar Hashimi Rafsanjani, one of the most influential figures of the Islamic Republic, died on Sunday afternoon January 8, 2017, after a heart attack. Rafsanjani, 82 years, President of the Republic from 1989 to 1997, was hospitalized urgently in Tajrish's Shohada-ye Tajrish Hospital in northern Tehran.
A historical figure of Iranian politics, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has always been at the centre of the political spectrum, advocating moderation and rapprochement with the West, including America "the big satan".
Born on August 25, 1934 in Rafsanjani in a wealthy family, Akbar Hashimi Rafsanjani studied theology when he entered politics in 1963 after the arrest of Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeiny, the future founder of the Shah of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Wearing the white turban of the Shiite clergy, he became a faithful follower of Ayatollah Khomeini. President of Parliament, then head of the armies at the end of the war against Iraq, Akbar Hashimi Rafsanjani convinced Khomeini to accept the end of the war. He played a key role in the Islamic revolution of 1979 and then opened the country's doors, initiated a program of reconstruction after the eight years of war (1980-1988) with a timid rapprochement with the West.
The last years of his second term were criticized by the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, against his overly liberal economic policy and almost 40 percent inflation.
Rafsanjani largely favoured the election of the reformer Mohammad Khatami in 1997. But when he was a candidate in the 2000 legislative elections, the reformers campaigned against him, effectively preventing his election and hopes of taking the lead to play a more active role in parliament. In 2005, when he runs for the presidential election to replace Mohammad Khatami, he was beaten by ultra-conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
In February 2016, Rafsanjani had won a symbolic victory against the Conservatives who had tried to isolate him on the political scene by being elected at the head of the elected representatives of Tehran in the Assembly of Experts, appointed to hire and eventually fire the Supreme Leader.
Three days of national mourning was announced after Akbar Hashimi Rafsanjani’s death. A state funeral will be organised on 11 January 2017 and Akbar Hashimi Rafsanjani will be buried at the Fatima Masumeh Mosque in Qom.