The Governor of the Central Bank of Iran, Mohsen Nourbakhsh, died of heart attack Saturday night, IRNA reported.
Nourbakhsh, 54 (ed.), who held a Ph.D in economics from California State University, was a key architect of the Iranian economy after the destructive Iraqi imposed-war of 1980-1988. He also advocated a liberal economy.
His doctor told IRNA that Nourbakhsh felt heart pain at 02:00 Sunday (2130 GMT Saturday) and was rushed to hospital in Chalous in northern Iran, where the official is thought to have been on holiday because of the new Iranian year.
"Despite all the efforts made by the hospital staff, the treatment did not prove effective and Nourbakhsh passed away before 04:00 and his body was transferred to Tehran," Homayoun Mehran said.
"Dr. Nourbakhsh suffered from cardiac rheumatism since his childhood and went through an operation on his heart 18 years ago outside the country," he added.
President Mohammad Khatami, in a condolence message, praised Nourbakhsh as a "very sincere, intelligent and capable serviceman" and described his death as a "great loss".
The Council of Ministers said Nourbakhsh played a "key role in putting shape into the monetary policies of the country by unifying the Iranian currency and establishing a reserve fund (for the surplus oil revenues) as well as (helping with the) eye-catching rise of the Central Bank's reserves".
Nourbakhsh first came into office shortly after the 1979 Islamic Revolution as the deputy finance minister until 1981 after his bid for finance minister was rejected by then president Abolhassan Banisadr who defected later.
He was later appointed as the governor of the CBI until 1986 during the government of then prime minister Mir-Hossein Moussavi.
In 1988, Nourbakhsh was elected as the parliamentary representative from Tehran before becoming then president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani's finance minister between 1994 and 1995.
He was forced to step down after failing the Iranian parliament's vote of confidence in an impeachment motion. Rafsanjani appointed him as his economic right hand and his deputy immediately after the impeachment, before being again appointed as the Iranian central bank governor.
Nourbakhsh was then reinstated as the governor of the CBI by President Mohammad Khatami in 1999 until his death for a tenure which was marked by bitter dispute with the current Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Tahmasb Mazaheri.
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