Alwaght– Iran plunged into mourning on Sunday following the sudden demise of a veteran revolutionary figure, Hujjat al-Islam Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
He passed away following a heart attack after being admitted at a hospital in northern Tehran thus marking the end of a life of replete with resistance and struggle which culminated in the victory of the Islamic revolution in 1979.
Rafsanjani, who passed away at the age of 82, was the Chairman of Iran’s Expediency Council, the last of his many top positions he held in Iran including being the president of the Islamic Republic for two consecutive terms from 1989 to 1997.
He was born on August 25, 1934 in the village of Bahreman near the city of Rafsanjan in Kerman Province. He later moved to Qom in 1948 to study Islamic theology in the city of Qom where he got acquainted Imam Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
A confidant of Imam Khomeini
While in Qom he joined the Islamic movement and the struggle led by Imam Khomeini against the tyrannical regime of Reza Shah. Rafsanjani became one of the closest aides of Imam Khomeini during the struggle to topple the Shah and as a result was imprisoned and tortured several times by the Shah’s notorious secret spy agency, SAVAK.
This persecution did not deter a resolute Rafsanjani who continued to play a crucial role in the events leading to the triumph of the Islamic Revolution. After the victory of the Revolution he continued to be a confidant of Imam Khomeini and became one of the members of Council of Islamic Revolution. He was also an interim commander-in-chief of the armed forces during the eight years of Iraq’s imposed war on Iran (1980-88). Among the other positions he held include parliament speaker (1980-1988), president (two terms from 1989-to-1997), and chairman of the Expediency Council (1998-till his death). He was also the head of the Assembly of Experts from 2007 until 2011 and interim Friday prayer leader of Tehran from 1981 to 2009.
Iran’s Leader Pays Tribute to Rafsanjani
The Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a condolence message late on Sunday following the passing away of Rafsanjani terming him “an old friend, my comrade in arms and my associate during the Islamic revolutionary movement and my close colleague over the course of many years in the Islamic Republic era.”
The leader also eulogized him as “peerless example of the first-generation of fighters against oppression by the monarchy and he was one of those who suffered on this perilous and glorious path”.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani sent condolences, noting that following the demise of Rafsanjani, “Islam had lost a great asset, Iran a great commander.” Rouhani described the late Rafsanjani as a “great national hero, a man who fought against tyranny and colonialism.”
The Iranian president also declared three days of public mourning and urged Iranians to massively participate at funeral procession of Hujjat al-Islam Rafsanjani on Tuesday (January 10) which has been declared a public holiday.
World Reacts to Rafsanjani’s Demise
Messages of condolences continue to be received from across the world following the passing away of Rafsanjani with leaders and monarchs from the West Asia sending tributes late on Sunday.
The Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, sent condolences over Rafsanjani, saying he “prayed to Allah the almighty to bestow blessings on the deceased.” The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the King of Bahrain and United Arab Emirates leaders were among the Persian Gulf leaders who offered their condolence.
Meanwhile, the secretary general of the Lebanese resistance movement, Hezbollah, expressed his condolences to the Iranian nation over the demise of Hashemi Rafsanjani. “We lost a great man among the elderly figures of the Islamic Ummah (community),” Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah said in a message.
He noted that, ‘over the past 34 years, Rafsanjani had been a great supporter and backer of the (anti-Israeli) resistance. The Hezbollah leader pointed out that, “the late Rafsanjani believed in the Palestinian issue and resistance against the Zionist regime of Israel”.