Iran Breaking: Ex-President Rafsanjani is Dead

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Hashemi Rafsanjani, the President of Iran from 1989 to 1997 and still an influential and controversial figure in Iranian politics, died on Sunday following a heart attack.


Rafsanjani, 83, suffered the attack about 6 p.m. and passed away about 7:30 p.m. (1600 GMT) at Shohada Tajrish Hospital in northern Tehran. President Hassan Rouhani was present.

The former President’s body has been taken to the Jamaran district, near the home of the late Ayatollah Khomeini.

Although embattled within the regime since the 2009 mass protests over the disputed Presidential election, Rafsanjani still held the chair of the Expediency Council and was regarded as Rouhani’s mentor.

See Iran Analysis: Tehran Prepares for Politics Without Rafsanjani

Despite his tension with the former President — to the point of limiting his power, putting pressure on his family, and blocking Rafsanjani’s run for the Presidency in 2013 — the Supreme Leader issued an effusive message of condolence:

The loss of a comrade, a companion with whom one has cooperated and felt close to for a full 59 years, is difficult and overwhelming….

His unique intelligence and friendliness throughout the years turned him into a reliable source of trust for all those who worked with him, particularly me.

At times, a difference of opinions and varying jurisprudences, during this long companionship, never managed to cut the ties of friendship between us….The evil set forth by those who breathed temptation into the minds of people, who were trying hard over the last few years to exploit these theoretical differences, could not lead to any flaws in the deep, personal love he felt for this humble person….

I ask God for compassion, mercy and forgiveness towards him, from the depths of my heart, and I condole with his respected wife, children, brothers and other survivors.

Maneuvers Within Regime

Rafsanjani was a member of the inner circle of the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. He quickly became Speaker of Parliament after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. As head of the Assembly of Experts, the body which chooses the Supreme Leader, he was instrumental in the selection of Ayatollah Khamenei after Khomeini’s death in 1989.

Rafsanjani became President a few months later. He pursued the reconstruction of Iran after the damaging 1980-1988 war with Iran, encourging privatization while seeking links with Central Asia and Arab states, including reconciliation with Saudi Arabia. Success was limited, however, and the reformist Mohammad Khatami won the Presidency in 1997.

He remained prominent in Iranian politics and ran for President in 2005. However, plagued by allegations of corruption around his personal wealth, he lost to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and settled for a return as head of the Assembly of Experts in 2007.

From Leadership to Challenge

In July 2009, weeks after the mass protests over the disputed re-election of Ahmadinejad, Rafsanjani used his sermon as Tehran Friday Prayer leader to call for acceptance of the demonstrations.

He immediately fell out of favor with key figures in the regime, including the Supreme Leader. The Friday Prayer was his last, and he lost the chair of the Assembly of Experts in 2011, although he remained as head of the Expediency Council.

The regime also maintained pressure on Rafsanjani through the arrests of two of his children. His son Mehdi Hashemi was accused of election manipulation and fraud after the 2009 Ahmadinejad “victory” and was finally arrested in September 2012. His daughter Faezeh Hashemi was imprisoned for six months in 2012 for her activism.

However, turmoil over Ahmadinejad’s final years in office gave Rafsanjani another opening. With support appearing to build behind him, he announced his candidacy for the Presidency in 2013. He was banned by the Guardian Council, but the Council’s “consolation” of allowing Hassan Rouhani to run turned into a surprise victory for the current President and an opening for a centrist bloc in which Rafsanjani was influential.

The former President continued to spur controversy. He incurred the wrath of hardliners and Khamenei’s office with his suggestion that the Supreme Leader, upon his death, be replaced by a five-cleric council with a limited term. His renewed promotion of reconciliation with Saudi Arabia was undermined by the breaking of relations between Riyadh and Tehran in January 2016.

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11 COMMENTS

  1. I cannot contain my joy and gladness at this news. I have been handing out sweets and flowers to friends and family for the past 2 hours. “Kooseh” is finally dead and his soul sent to the very pit of “Duzakh”.

      • Obama will be passing into political oblivion soon. You must be very sad. American now belongs to the Trump organization.

        • Nah, not really. I mean at least Trump will be more hostile to the mullahs. After all he did say he would shoot Iranian boats out of the water. I did like that about him.

    • Rafsanjani’s death came as a shock to Iranians and is expected by many analysts to have big implications for an Islamic establishment whose first generation is aging and dying.

      The loss of such a heavyweight may further intensify the power struggle between reformers who argue that pro-democracy changes are essential for the regime’s survival and hardliners who resist opening up the country.

      “This is like a major quake to the political establishment,” said one reform-minded politician.
      “His death will shake the regime’s balance at a sensitive time.”

      https://www.ft.com/content/44b5fcda-d5ed-11e6-944b-e7eb37a6aa8e

      Without the part of the reformers which was represented by Rafsanjani, Iran will finally slip into
      a Shia Fascist Dictatorship.

  2. US sends condolences for demise of a senior Iranian official, calling Rafsanjani a “prominent figure.”
    Looks like if it is the last friendly US diplomatic note. Probably after January 20th this type of participation will no longer be send from the US administration. .

  3. Hot greetings from Moscow and Teheran to the west

    Kabul- Allegations over Russia and Iran’s deepening ties with the Taliban have ignited concerns of a renewed “Great Game” of proxy warfare in Afghanistan that could undermine U.S.-backed troops and push the country deeper into turmoil.

    http://english.aawsat.com/2016/12/article55364701/moscow-tehran-ties-taliban-stoke-afghan-anxiety

    Looks like if the Syrian Bloodshed and and the transformation into a Terror Factory in Syria isn`t enough for Putin and Khamenei. .

    • LOL, I’m sure nothing Iran or Russia might do there can actually deepen the already bottomless turmoil established by the Yanki Brain-Bugs and their Europeón sidekicks over Afghanistan. They have selflessly brung ‘democracy’ there for 15 whole years and still have a lot of love in their hearts ordnance in their bomb-bays for those Pashtun ‘rebels’ who ever fail to appreciate the ‘blessings’ showered upon them by the warcriminal imperialist bandits.

      • Russia knows very well where to find real friends like massmurderes and islamic terrorists
        ======================================================================
        On December 8, 2016, Russia’s ambassador to Afghanistan, Mantyskiy, announced that the Russian government had made a diplomatic outreach to the Taliban’s leaders. In a press conference, Mantyskiy countered international criticism of Russia’s Taliban links by insisting that Moscow’s contacts with the extremist group were limited and aimed at ensuring the safety of Russian civilians.

        Even though Russian Putin’s diplomatic engagement with the Taliban has strained Moscow’s relationship with the Afghan government, the Kremlin has continued its dialogue with the Taliban for two main reasons. First, Kremlin policymakers believe that engagement with the Taliban is necessary for the preservation of long-term political stability in Afghanistan. Second, Russian diplomats believe that they can strike a deal with the Taliban on drug trafficking and use the Taliban’s opposition to Islamic State (IS) to further Russia’s counterterrorism objectives.

        Taliban including Northkorea and the poison gasmurderer Assad and the dimwit Donald Trump
        are the new and old friends of the russian torture regime. A real convincing selection of friends the Fascist Putin has made.

  4. That guys had more blood on his hands and more stolen money on his bank then most ayatollahs combined. Time for the rest to clear the scene. They are all with one foot in the grave. Hopefully the people replacing them will not be from the clergy !!

  5. Rafsanjani was the main pillar of this regime after khomeini that erected and continuously supported this murderous regime. Without him the regime will fall into even greater disarray. After 7-tir(assassination of beheshti) really it was khomeini and rafasanjani that kept the regime from falling apart, the rest were running around like beheaded chicken. Things are a lot worst these days…

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