Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, the Head of the Expediency Council and Iran’s former president from 1989 to 1997, died at hospital of a heart failure on Sunday at the age of 82.
Following the news of Rafsanjani's death, a crowd gathered outside the hospital in Tehran's Tajrish neighbourhood where he had been taken.
One of the key figures in the 1979 Islamic Revolution, an aide to the founder of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (PBUH), Rafsanjani was born in 1934, in the village of Ghahraman near the city of Rafsanjan in Kerman province.
He moved to the holy city of Qom in 1948 to pursue his religious studies. Rafsanjani was a student and disciple of Ayatollah Khomeini and a major opposition figure to the regime of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
He was imprisoned several times during the 1960s and 70s for his political activities. After the ouster of the Shah, Rafsanjani helped found the Islamic Republican party and built his political power base as speaker of the Parliament (1980–89). From 1988 to 1989 he was also acting commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces.
During his presidency, Rafsanjani strongly believed that Iran needs economic changes and making balance between realism and Islamic ideology. Rafsanjani pursued two pragmatic policies including solving economic problems that war had caused and improving Iran relations with other countries. He was widely known as "Generla of Construction" among politicians for his efforts in reconstructing the country after war.
He attempted to separate political issues from economic ones, resuming trade with the US regardless of the absence of diplomatic relationships between Iran and the United States. Hashemi Rafsanjani believed that Iran could not trust the United States to resume political relations between the two countries.
His death is a huge loss for Iranian comunity, after a lifetime of ceaseless endeavors towards the path of Islam and the Revolution.