Death of Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is blow to Iran reform movement

The New York Times reports: Iran’s state television on Sunday confirmed the death of Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former president and a leading reformer, who had a stroke on Sunday. He was 82.

“Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, the head of the expediency discernment council, after a lifetime of ceaseless endeavors towards the path of Islam and the revolution, left this world,” a ticker on the state television Channel One read.

His death is a huge blow for Iran’s marginalized reformist movement, and moderates in the government, for whom the Shiite Muslim cleric was a leader and figurehead.

Mr. Rafsanjani also was one of the main voices in Iran calling for an outreach to the West and the United States.

“He will be missed,” said Farshad Ghorbanpour, a political analyst close to the reformists. “He was increasingly powerless, but gave us hope. Now we will have to do without him.” [Continue reading…]

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