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Home Topics in Depth Foreign Affairs Hashemi Rafsanjani: Iranian president and kingmaker

  • bemildred (1806 posts)
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    Hashemi Rafsanjani: Iranian president and kingmaker

    Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was once described as a “veteran kingmaker” by the Economist. Indeed he was, helping bring Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini himself to power at the founding of the Islamic Republic in 1979 and playing a crucial role in naming current Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as supreme leader exactly 10 years later.

    In the early 1990s, Rafsanjani personally chose Hasan Nasrallah to become secretary-general of Hezbollah — which made him “maker” of three of the most controversial Shiite figures in modern history. He nevertheless failed to secure his own re-election as president of Iran —twice, in 2005 and 2013.

    Former Iranian President Rafsanjani, one of the last surviving veterans of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, died at a hospital in northern Iran on Sunday, after suffering a heart attack at the age of 82. President Hasan Rouhani declared three days of national mourning and state-run newspapers dedicated full-page spreads covering the life of a man who was described as economically liberal, politically authoritarian, and philosophically conservative — all in one. He was too liberal to be considered a conservative, too conservative to become a liberal, making him a rare figure in modern Iranian history.


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