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Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, a great voice of moderation goes to eternal sleep
Former Iranian president Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a close confident of Ayatollah Ruhullah Khomeini – the Leader of Iranian Revolution, died on Sunday after suffering a heart attack in Tehran.

Mr Reza Soleimani, speaker of the Expediency Council, Iran's main political arbitration body which Rafsanjani chaired informed: "Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was transferred to hospital after a heart attack. Despite the efforts of the doctors he died." He had been admitted to the 'Shohadaa Hospital' in northern Tehran.

He was one of the great moderators of Iranian society and politics till his last day. He was a pivotal figure in the foundation of the Islamic republic in 1979, and served as president from 1989 to 1997. His presidency was marked by reconstruction, cautious reforms and repairs to Iran's relations with its Arab neighbors soon after the end of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.

He was 82. His death is a huge loss for both reformists and moderates, as he stood as a pillar for the two camps. Throngs of Iranians gathered outside the Shohadaa hospital, despite police warnings, blocking Tehran's Valiasr Avenue.

Ayatullah Hashemi Rafsanjani was born on August 25, 1934 in the village of Nough in southern Iran into a wealthy family. He studied theology in the holy city of Qom before entering politics in 1963 after the Shah's police arrested the founder of the Islamic republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. After serving a maximum two consecutive terms, Rafsanjani played an important role in the election of the reformist Mohammad Khatami, who succeeded him as president from 1997 to 2005.

Rafsanjani sought a return to the presidency in 2005 but lost to hard-liner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a conservative backlash.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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