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Rafsanjani’s Death…The ‘Pragmatic’ of Iran’s Regime | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was a key figure in the foundation of the Islamic republic in 1979 (AFP Photo/Atta Kenare)

London – Ali Akbar Rafsanjani, one of the main founders of the Iranian regime and the confident of important secrets, died on Sunday in a heart attack at the age of 82.

Rafsanjani, described as the “pragmatic,” was one of the biggest players in the Iranian political scene following the founder of the regime, Ayatollah Khomeini and current Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

In the last years of his life, Rafsanjani was called “Sheikh of reformers.” He also played a leading role in the writing of the Iranian constitution after Khomeini’s “Revolution,” and its amendment after the death of the Ayatollah.

In the years of the first Gulf war with Iraq (1980-1988), Rafsanjani was Khomeini’s representative at the Higher Defense Council and the deputy Commander of the Armed Forces. The leadership of the Revolutionary Guards and the Army were also under his command during this war.

Khamenei’s office announced the death of one of his main opponents, Rafsanjani, who started his career by studying theology in the city of Qom.

Iranian media outlets confirmed on Sunday the death of Rafsanjani at a hospital in Tajrish, northern Tehran.

Official websites reported that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was the first official to head to the hospital after news about Rafsanjani’s deteriorating health.

Government official media considered the death of Rafsanjani as the start of a new phase in Iran’s politics due to his role in the Iranian regime during the past four decades.

“The soul of the great man of the Revolution, symbol of patience and resistance has gone to Heaven,” Iranian President Rouhani tweeted after Rafsanjani’s death.

Rafsanjani was born on August 25, 1934 in the village of Nough in southern Iran.

Along 37 years, Rafsanjani had assumed several posts including the parliament speaker for eight years and Iran’s President from 1988 to 1997. Since, Rafsanjani chaired the Expediency Council.

Disputes had emerged between Rafsanjani and Khamenei after Iran’s Supreme leader supported Rafsanjani’s opponent at the 2005 presidential elections, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.