Iran Mourns Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani’s Death, Huge Crowd Attends Funeral
Iran’s former president, Akbar Hashemi Khamenei Rafsanjani, has died from a heart attack on Sunday. He was 82 years old. Rafsanjani became president of Iran from 1989 to 1997. His death brought out the thousands of mourners to the capital of Tehran to pay their last respects.
Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was one of the most influential people in his time, particularly, in the 1979 revolution. Many criticized his reign as being harsh. Later on, he became a supporter of reformists. In fact, his funeral became a meeting ground for reformists.
Details on the funeral
The funeral started on Monday and will officially end three days after. The mourners line the streets along the Tehran University Campus where they offered prayers, as seen on television, according to BBC. They raised black banners and even showed posters of the former leader with the words, “Goodbye, old combatant”. Some mourners beat on their chests and wailed to express their grief over Rafsanjani’s death, reports Miami Herald.
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Alli Khamenei, said offered prayers by Rafsanjani’s casket. Other dignitaries were also present and knelt before the casket, hands out, as if in a final embrace. Behind Khamenie was President Hassan Rouhani. The hardliners were also around to pay tribute to the former leader. Among them was Qassem Soleimani, the general who heads the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force. They mainly focus on the war in Syria.
But, not everyone was welcome at the funeral. The former president, Mohammed Khatami, who is a reformist but disliked by many hardliners was apparently banned from the event. The media also made sure that Khatami never showed up on television. Rafsanjani served as the most trusted right-hand man of Khomenei. He also helped launch the nuclear program of Iran and helped in the reconciliation between the Iran and the West.
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