Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was the fourth president of Iran, serving from 1989 to 1997. Considered a moderate, he played an important role in the 1979 Iranian revolution and subsequent politics.

Former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani attends Iran's Assembly of Experts biannual meeting in Tehran, Iran March 8, 2011.
Former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani attends Iran's Assembly of Experts biannual meeting in Tehran, Iran March 8, 2011.

Former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani died in hospital in Tehran on Sunday.

Rafsanjani was an influential figure in the 1979 revolution and emerged as a leader of the moderate faction within Iran's subsequent politics.

His pragmatic policies - economic liberalisation, better relations with the West and empowering elected bodies - appealed to many Iranians, but were criticised by others, including more conservative factions within the polity.

Rafsanjani's body was taken to Jamaran prayer hall, the residence of the founder of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Rohullah Khomeini. There, senior politicians, religious figures and members of his family paid their last respects.

Condolences

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani tweeted:

"The soul of a giant man of revolution, politics, a symbol of patience and strength, has ascended to skies."

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu extended condolences over the death of Rafsanjani.

Cavusoglu said on Twitter that he was "deeply saddened" by the death of Rafsanjani.

United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and other Gulf states, including Bahrain, Kuwait, and Qatar, also extended their condolences on the death of the former Iranian president.

Rafsanjani's funeral will be held in Tehran on Tuesday. Iran has announced three days of mourning.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies