Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani passed away at the age of 82 this week. Aside from being an ally to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who founded the Islamic Republic of Iran, Rafsanjani was also what The Economist called the “veteran kingmaker.” During his 40-year political career, Rafsanjani wore many turbans, including speaker of parliament, commander-in-chief during the eight-year Iran-Iraq War, and president from 1989 to 1997. However, the turban he desired the most was supreme leader of Iran, the very title that current Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei holds thanks in part to Rafsanjani. The closest Rafsanjani got to the position was three times being elected to the Assembly of Experts, the Shiite version of the College of Cardinals that determines the next supreme leader. An estimated four million people attended Rafsanjani’s funeral in Tehran, the largest gathering since Khomeini died in 1989. Here are the best articles written on Rafsanjani’s career, the protests at his funeral, and the future of Iranian politics:
Rafsanjani, Iran’s wiliest revolutionary, dies (New Yorker).
Sons of the Iranian Revolution: Rafsanjani, Khamenei, and the friendship-cum-rivalry that shaped a country (The Atlantic).
Death of Iran’s Rafsanjani removes influential voice against hardliners (New York Times).
As protests flare, Iran bids farewell to Rafsanjani (New York Times).
Will Rafsanjani’s death allow President Hassan Rouhani to forge his own path? (Al-Monitor)
Five GCC countries sent their condolences to Tehran over the death of Rafsanjani: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the UAE (AP). Saudi Arabia didn’t express condolences. Instead, state television aired an interview with a member of the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) that linked Rafsanjani with the 1988 massacre in Iranian prisons.
A lot has been said about Rafsanjani himself, but what about the women of his clan? Read more about the Rafsanjani women (IranWire).