The funeral of former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is
being held in Tehran. Hundreds of thousands of Iranians jammed streets
around Tehran University, where Rafsanjani was laying in state on January 10.
A national holiday has been declared.
Rafsanjani, who served as Iran's president from 1989 to 1997, died of heart
failure on January 9 at the age of 82.
Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, held prayers over Rafsanjani's casket. According to state television, Khamenei participated in the ceremony despite his "differences" with Rafsanjani, who was widely considered a reformist moderate.
President Hassan Rohani, parliament speaker Ali Larijani, and his brother,
judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, were also among the officials who
took part in the events.
Major General Qassem Suleimani, the hard-line conservative leader of the
Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps' foreign-operations division, also attended.
The streets of the capital were festooned with black banners and portraits of Rafsanjani. Fares for public transport were waived.
Some videos posted on social media seem to show mourners chanting slogans in
support of former President Mohammad Khatami, a political ally of Rafsanjani who
is out of favor with the country's current leadership, and reformist leader
Musavi and Mehdi Karrubi, both reformist candidates who lost the country's controversial 2009 presidential election, have been under house arrest since 2011 for their role in postelection protests.
On January 9, U.S. President Obama's administration issued a statement
calling Rafsanjani a "prominent figure throughout the history of the Islamic
Republic of Iran" and sending condolences "to his family and loved ones."
Rafsanjani will be buried in the mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the father of the country's 1979 Islamic Revolution.
With reporting by AP, dpa, and AFP
The Death of the Ayatollah Machiavelli
In October 2013, I was part of a delegation of the Social-Democratic Group of the European Parliament (EP) to Iran. Among the Iranian officials that the delegation, led by the then-Social-Democratic-Group President Hannes Swoboda, met with in Tehran was the Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani... On a personal level, in a marked contrast to some decidedly dour characters representing the Islamic Republic, he came across as a gregarious man clearly at ease with a European delegation that comprised several female MPs. -Eldar Mamedov
Last Respects To Former President Hashemi Rafsanjani
Iran has begun three days of mourning for former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who died on January 8 of a heart attack at the age of 82. President Hassan Rohani and his administration on January 9 paid respects to Rafsanjani at northern Tehran's Jamaran prayer hall, where Rafsanjani's body was laid out.
Death of Iran's Rafsanjani Removes Influential Voice Against Hard-Liners
With the death of Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani on Sunday, Iran's political factions knew immediately that any space by reformers to maneuver had just significantly decreased. - Thomas Erdbrink, New York Times
Iran Just Lost Its Most Influential Power-Broker. Now, Everything Could
The sudden passing of former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani could fundamentally redraw the political map in Iran -TIME
Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani: Iran's evolving revolutionary
Iran's former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who died on Sunday, was a pivotal figure in the foundation of the Islamic republic in 1979 and he continued to shape it. -AFP
... Payvand News - 01/10/17 ... --