People in Iran are mourning the passing away of Chairman of the Expediency Council Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who died on Sunday at the age of 82.
According to Press TV, large crowds of mourners clogged the street around the hospital in northern Tehran where Ayatollah Rafsanjani was admitted after suffering a heart attack.
His body was later taken to Jamaran Prayer Hall, where a large number of politicians and religious figures gathered to pay their last respects to the senior cleric.
His funeral will be held in Tehran on Tuesday. The government has announced three days of mourning and a public holiday on Tuesday.
Ayatollah Rafsanjani was among the main aides to the late Founder of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini (God bless his soul).
He played an influential role both during the anti-Shah struggles before the victory of the Islamic Revolution and afterwards through various stages of the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Rafsanjani was also a key figure during the eight years of the Iraq-imposed war (1980-88), serving as the deputy commander-in-chief of Iran’s armed forces.
Many Iranian and world figures have expressed condolences over the passing away of the former president.
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei offered his condolences over the sudden demise of an old friend, comrade and ally. The Leader noted that Rafsanjani’s loss was overwhelming and very hard to bear, adding that their cooperation and friendship had lasted for 59 years.
President Hassan Rouhani also issued a condolence message, stressing that “Islam had lost a great asset, Iran a great commander.”
Ayatollah Seyyed Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, a member of Iran’s Assembly of Experts, Chairman of the Assembly of Experts Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani and many more also expressed their condolences.
A US State Department official referred to Ayatollah Rafsanjani as a “prominent figure” throughout the history of Iran in a statement. “We send our condolences to his family and loved ones,” said the statement.
Iraqi President Fuad Masum also offered his condolences, while voicing his appreciation for Ayatollah Rafsanjani’s efforts backing the people of Iraq.
Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah also extended his condolences over Ayatollah Rafsanjani’s demise.
Condolences were also offered by former Turkish President Abdullah Gül, Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, Iraq’s former Prime Minister and current Vice President Nouri al-Maliki, Turkish Minister of European Union Affairs Omer Celik, the UN resident coordinator in Iran, Gary Lewis, Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Ale Khalifah, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.