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Former President of Iran, Mr. Rafsanjani, Dies at Age Eighty-Two

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Brian Demo ’17

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Mr. Rafsanjani, one of Iran's former Presidents, sits in Tehran, Iran in 2015.

Mr. Rafsanjani, one of Iran's former Presidents, sits in Tehran, Iran in 2015.

Thomas Koehler/Getty Images

Thomas Koehler/Getty Images

Mr. Rafsanjani, one of Iran's former Presidents, sits in Tehran, Iran in 2015.

Iran’s state-run television announced that former president of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, passed away at eighty-two years old due to heart failure.  He was a significant figure in Irani politics, holding the title as a founder of the Islamic Republic.

His experiences proved unique, as helped overthrow the shah during the Iranian Revolution in 1979 while later becoming a counterpoint to hardline conservatives.  Critics knew him as a centrist – a man who supported a liberal economic policy, yet ruled with a strong authoritarianistic tone.  He encouraged private business growth and overall infrastructure improvement.

Steeped in controversy, Mr. Rafsanjani became the primary person behind Irani acceptance of the UN Security Council resolution.  Several political scientists and historians made note of his lighter relationship with the United States when compared to other Iranian officials, crediting him with suggesting to drop “Death to America” from Tehran’s Friday prayers.  After ending a war, he later created international tensions by helping develop the nation’s nuclear program.

Mr. Rafsanjani ran against conservative candidate, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in 2005 and lost.  After the election, he reportedly criticized new policy directions.  Corruption claims regarding the Rafsanjani family frequently found the news outlets.  Though, even after Mr. Ahmadinejad won a second term in office, Mr. Rafsanjani persisted on his moderate path, working to gain support for causes that included releasing political prisoners and allowing more freedoms to political parties.

 

 

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Former President of Iran, Mr. Rafsanjani, Dies at Age Eighty-Two