9 Jan 2017

Former Iranian president dies

3:41 pm on 9 January 2017

One of the main voices in Iran calling for an outreach to the West and the United States has died.

Former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani in Tehran, Iran on February 27, 2016.

Former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. Photo: AFP

The death of Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani at 82 is a huge blow for Iran's marginalised reformist movement, for whom he was a leader and figurehead.

Mr Rafsanjani was one of the leaders of the 1979 Islamic revolution, and an aide to the founder of the Iranian republic, Ayatollah Khomeini.

He served as president from 1989 to 1997, but after his presidency, political rivals seized on his support for reformists and labelled him an aristocrat and supporter of what they called "American Islam".

His death means President Hassan Rouhani is the main leader of those calling for change in Iran.

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