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Akbar Rafsanjani

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Akbar Rafsanjani
اکبر رفسنجانی
4th President of Iran
In office
16 August 1989 – 3 August 1997
Supreme LeaderAli Khamenei
First Vice President
Hassan Habibi
Preceded byAli Khamenei
Succeeded byMohammad Khatami
Chairman of Expediency Discernment Council
In office
4 October 1989 – 8 January 2017
Appointed byAli Khamenei
Preceded byAli Khamenei
Succeeded byMahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Chairman of the Assembly of Experts
In office
25 July 2007 – 8 March 2011
Supreme LeaderAli Khamenei
Preceded byAli Meshkini
Succeeded byMohammad-Reza Mahdavi Kani
18th Speaker of the Parliament of Iran
In office
28 July 1980 – 3 August 1989
First Deputy
Preceded byJavad Saeed
Succeeded byMehdi Karroubi
Member of the Assembly of Experts
In office
15 August 1983 – 8 January 2017
ConstituencyTehran Province
Majority2,301,492 (5th term)
Tehran's Friday Prayer Temporary Imam
In office
3 July 1981 – 17 July 2009
Appointed byRuhollah Khomeini
Member of the Parliament of Iran
In office
28 May 1980 – 3 August 1989
ConstituencyTehran, Rey, Shemiranat and Eslamshahr
Majority1,891,264 (81.9%; 2nd term)
Minister of Interior
17 November 1979 – 27 February 1980
Appointed byIslamic Revolution Council
Preceded byHashem Sabbaghian
Succeeded byMohammad-Reza Mahdavi Kani
Personal details
Ali Akbar Hashimi Bahramani Rafsanjani

(1934-08-25)25 August 1934
Bahreman, Imperial State of Persia
Died8 January 2017(2017-01-08) (aged 82)
Tajrish, Shemiranat County, Iran
Resting placeMausoleum of Ruhollah Khomeini
Political partyExecutives of Construction
Other political
(m. 1958)
WebsiteOfficial website (in Persian)
Military service
CommandsSecond-in-command, Joint Chiefs of Staff
Battles/warsIran–Iraq War
AwardsOrder of Fath (1st grade)[1]

Ali Akbar Hashimi Bahramani Rafsanjani[a] (25 August 1934 – 8 January 2017) was an Iranian politician and writer who served as the fourth president of Iran from 1989 to 1997. One of the founding fathers of the Islamic Republic, Rafsanjani was the head of the Assembly of Experts from 2007 until 2011 when he decided not to nominate himself for the post. He was also the chairman of the Expediency Discernment Council.

During his 40-year tenure, Rafsanjani amassed a large amount of power serving as the speaker of parliament, Commander-in-Chief during the Iran–Iraq War, President, and chose Ali Khamenei as the supreme leader of Iran.

Rafsanjani became president of Iran after winning the 1989 election. He served another term by winning the election in 1993. In the 2005 election he ran for a third term in office, placing first in the first round of elections but ultimately losing to rival Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the run-off. He and his family faced political isolation for their support of the opposition in 2009. Rafsanjani entered the race for the 2013 presidential election,[2] but he was disqualified by the Guardian Council. With Hassan Rouhani's election, in which Rafsanjani openly supported him, the Rafsanjani family gradually recovered their political reputation. Rafsanjani died in 2017, following a heart attack, in a hospital in Tehran at the age of 82. Although government officials attributed his death to cardiac arrest, his sudden death prompted speculation that he had been assassinated. His family strongly asserted that he had been murdered. Further investigation revealed that his body was highly radioactive.[3]

Rafsanjani has been described as a pragmatic Islamic conservative. The Economist called him a "veteran kingmaker".[4] He supported a capitalist free market position domestically, favoring privatization of state-owned industries and a moderate position internationally, seeking to avoid conflict with the United States and the West.[5] He was also the founder of, and one of the Board of Trustees of, Azad University. In 2003, Forbes estimated his personal wealth to be in excess of US$1 billion.[6]

Early life and education


Rafsanjani was born on 25 August 1934 in the village of Bahraman near the city of Rafsanjan in Kerman Province, to a wealthy family of pistachio farmers.[7][8] He had seven siblings.[9] His father, Mirza Ali Hashemi Behramani, was a pistachio merchant, one of Kerman's famous businessmen. His mother, Hajie Khanom Mahbibi Hashemi, died at the age of 90 on 21 December 1995.[10] One of his brothers, Mohammad Hashemi, is the former director of IRIB.[11] From childhood onward Rafsanjani did not see himself as a peasant, according to family members.[12]

He left at the age of 14 to study theology in Qom. There he became acquainted with the ideas of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the most senior dissident cleric who later became the founder of the Islamic Republic, on the political rule of the clergy. He studied theology.[13] His other teachers were Seyyed Hossein Borujerdi, Mohammad-Reza Golpaygani, Mohammad Kazem Shariatmadari, Abdul-Karim Ha'eri Yazdi, Shahab al-Din Mar'ashi Najafi, Nematollah Salehi Najafabadi, Muhammad Husayn Tabataba'i, and Hussein-Ali Montazeri.[14]

Political career


Pre-Revolution struggles


When he was studying at Qom Seminary, he became interested in politics under Ruhollah Khomeini. He was one of the opposers of Mohammad Reza Shah's White Revolution and accompanied Khomeini. With Khomeini's exile, Hashemi's role in the fight against the Shah and representing Khomeini in the country was highlighted. This opposition eventually led to his arrest and imprisonment. He was arrested 7 times from 1960 until 1979 and was in jail for four years and 5 months in total due to his clandestine activities against the Pahlavi regime. Khomeini made him the financial manager of the revolutionary struggle as well as the bridge with other revolutionary groups.[clarification needed][15]

Among the groups that had a deep bond with Hashemi, was the Islamic Coalition Party, which is known as responsible for the assassination of former Prime Minister Hassan Ali Mansur. This communication was another reason for his arrest. In prison, he found the opportunity to become familiar with other groups opposed to the Shah. [citation needed]

In the mid-1970s, Rafsanjani travelled to various countries to evaluate the position of anti-Shah resistance groups abroad, including the United States, where his brother Mohammad Hashemi Rafsanjani was studying.[16] Rafsanjani travelled across sixteen states during his two-week stay, where his brother showed him locations such as Hollywood, the Statue of Liberty, and Yosemite National Park. According to Rafsanjani's brother, a bear broke into their car at Yosemite after they ignored a sign warning visitors not to keep food in their car. Rafsanjani had previously been to the West, visiting several European countries with his wife and children. He made a habit of taking notes about these developed countries to study their living conditions, industry, and resources, in a desire to replicate the same prosperity in his home country.[17] Upon his return to Iran, Rafsanjani was arrested by SAVAK and remained in prison until the victory of the Iranian revolution.

After the revolution


After the victory of Iranian Revolution, Rafsanjani became one of the members of Council of Islamic Revolution. He was one of the powerful members of the council from its establishment. He was also deputy interior minister at that time and later became the acting interior minister.

He was one of the 28 founders of Traditional right-wing Combatant Clergy Association and also one of the members of the central committee of Islamic Republican Party at the first years of the revolution. Years later, it was he who requested IRP's dissolution. His political acumen and Khomeini's full trust helped Rafsanjani as one of the most powerful politicians in Iran at that time. At the time, he was the closest person to the Khomeini and ruled as his "eyes and ears". According to the Gold, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was established with the help of Rafsanjani.

During the Iranian hostage crisis in 1980, Rafsanjani mentioned it as "one of the largest manufacturer in the history". However, on the tenth anniversary of the revolution, he said in an interview that according to the experiences of these years, the hostage was "wrong".

Rafsanjani served as one of the Tehran's Friday Prayer Imams (for next thirty years), Representative of Khomeini at Defense High Council (after death of Mostafa Chamran) and Second-in-Command of Iran's Joint Chiefs of Staff in the last year of Iran–Iraq War. He forced Khomeini to accept to end the war. Only three months after his appointment as Iran's deputy commander-in-chief, Iran accepted United Nations Security Council Resolution 598 and eight-year war was ended.[18]

Chairmanship of the Parliament (1980–1989)

Rafsanjani as parliament chairman in the inauguration of Mohammad-Ali Rajai

Iran's first Election Law was developed with Rafsanjani's partnership. He nominated as one of the Islamic Republican Party's candidates in the 1980 legislative election in Tehran. He gained 1,151,514 (54%) votes and ranked 15. Rafsanjani was the Speaker of Parliament of Iran for 9 years. He was elected as the speaker in 1980 in the first season of Parliament after the Iranian Revolution. He was also chairman in the second season and first year of the third parliament. After the death of Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic Republic and election of then-President Ali Khamenei as new supreme leader, he joined the 1989 presidential race and became the President, leaving Parliament.

He had a determining role in the dismissal of Abulhassan Banisadr as commander-in-chief of Iranian military and then his impeachment in the parliament as Iran's first president in June 1981. In the summer of 1981, he protested to the veto of the parliament's plan by the Guardian Council and informed it to Ruhollah Khomeini. This led to the establishment of Expediency Discernment Council, which later he chaired the council. He had an active role in Iran–Contra affair, which was divulged by Mehdi Hashemi and failed. Mehdi Hashemi was executed but Rafsanjani was the loser at internal dimension.[19]

Rafsanjani as the chairman of the parliament with future President Mohammad Khatami

In the October 1981 presidential election, when he voted for Ali Khamenei, he described it as a vote of "Imam (Khomeini), clerics and the parliament".[citation needed] During differences between Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Khamenei, Hashemi managed to maintain a compromise between Mousavi's reformists and Khamenei's principlists. With the death of Rafsanjani, the reformists, whom he had supported, were weakened.[20]

Presidency (1989–1997)

Rafsanjani with newly elected Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, 1989

Rafsanjani's presidency reportedly began on 16 August 1989.[21] adopted an "economy-first" policy, supporting a privatization policy against more state-owned economic tendencies in the Islamic Republic.[22] Another source describes his administration as "economically liberal, politically authoritarian, and philosophically traditional" which put him in confrontation with more radical deputies in the majority in the Majles of Iran.[23]

As president, Rafsanjani was credited with spurring Iran's reconstruction following the 1980–88 war with Iraq.[24] His reforms, despite attempting to curb the powers of the ultra-conservatives, failed to do so, and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards received increasing power from Khamenei during his presidency. He was also accused of corruption by both conservatives[25] and reformists,[26] and was known for tough crackdowns on dissent.[27]

Domestic policy


Rafsanjani advocated a free market economy. With the state's coffers full, Rafsanjani pursued an economic liberalization policy.[28] Rafsanjani's support for a deal with the United States over Iran's nuclear program and his free-market economic policies contrasted with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his allies, who advocate maintaining a hard line against Western intervention in the Middle East while pursuing a policy of economic redistribution to Iran's poor.[29] By espousing World Bank inspired structural adjustment policies, Rafsanjani desired a modern industrial-based economy integrated into the global economy.[30]

Rafsanjani urged universities to cooperate with industries. Turning to the quick pace of developments in today's world, he said that with "the world constantly changing, we should adjust ourselves to the conditions of our lifetime and make decisions according to present circumstances".[31] Among the projects he initiated are Islamic Azad University.[32][33]

Rafsanjani with some Iranian commanders of Iran–Iraq War

During his presidency, a period in which Rafsanjani is described by western media sources as having been the most powerful figure in Iran, people ordered executed by the judicial system of Iran included political dissidents, drug offenders, Communists, Kurds, followers of the Baháʼí Faith, and even Islamic clerics.[34]

Regarding the Iranian People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran, Rafsanjani said (Ettela'at, 31 October 1981):

God's law prescribes four punishments for them (the Mojahedin). 1-Kill them. 2-Hang them, 3-Cut off their hands and feet 4-Banish them. If we had killed two hundred of them right after the Revolution, their numbers would not have mounted this way. I repeat that according to the Quran, we are determined to destroy all [Mojahedin] who display enmity against Islam.

Rafsanjani also worked with Khamenei to maintain the stability of government after the death of Khomeini.[35]

Foreign policy

Rafsanjani meeting with former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan

Following years of deterioration in foreign relations under Khomeini during the Iran–Iraq War, Rafsanjani sought to rebuild ties with Arab states[36] as well as with countries in Central Asia and the Caucasus, including Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan.[37] However, relations with European countries and the United States remained poor, even though Rafsanjani had a track record of handling difficult situations and defusing crises.[38]

He condemned both the United States and Ba'athist Iraq during the Persian Gulf War in 1991. After the war he strove to renew close ties with the West, although he refused to lift Khomeini's fatwa against the British author Salman Rushdie for his Satanic Verses.[39]

Hashemi Rafsanjani at Beit Rahbari

Rafsanjani said that Iran is ready to assist Iraq, "expecting nothing in return", he also said that "peace and stability" is a function of the "evacuation of the occupiers."[40]

Rafsanjani meet with Abdullah of Saudi Arabia

Iran gave humanitarian help to the victims of the conflict. Iran sent truckloads of food and medicine to Iraq, and thousands of Kuwaiti refugees were given shelter in Iran.[41][page needed]

Rafsanjani voiced support to Prince Abdullah's peace initiative and to "everything the Palestinians agree to". He also stated that what he called "Iran's international interests" must take precedence over those of Iranian allies in Syria and Lebanon.[38]

Ayatollah Rafsanjani was a supporter of Iran's nuclear program. In 2007 Rafsanjani reiterated that the use of weapons of mass destruction was not part of the Islamic Republic culture. Rafsanjani said: "You [US and allies] are saying that you cannot trust Iran would not use its nuclear achievements in the military industries, but we are ready to give you full assurances in this respect."[42] According to The Economist, he is regarded by many Iranians "as the only person with the guile and clout to strike a deal with the West to end economic sanctions" imposed upon the country due to its nuclear program.[43]



After the end of the Iran-Iraq war, the need for a road map for the future was felt in order to end the historical gap between the country Iran development programs in the first government of Rafsanjani. The fifth government soon managed to recover the economy and moved the arrowhead of the indicators in a different direction. The first action of the fifth government was devoted to designing the first development plan of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The men that Rafsanjani had chosen to run the country took over the task of drafting the plan, and the first development plan was approved by the parliament at the end of 1990. The general goals of this program are rebuilding and equipping the defense base, rebuilding and modernizing production and infrastructure capacities and population centers damaged during the imposed war, quantitative expansion and qualitative improvement of public culture, creating economic growth, providing the minimum basic needs of the people, determining and modifying the pattern Consumption, organization reform and executive and judicial management of the country were considered. The most important characteristics of the two periods of Rafsanjani's government were the developmental and building approach, the establishment of a free economy in the country, and the use of Extraterritorial jurisdiction managers and technocrats. Characteristic of the construction government was that it paid much attention to the development of industrial and transportation infrastructure.[44][45][46]

After the presidency

Rafsanjani supporters in the 2005 election

Post-presidency, Rafsanjani delivered a sermon at Tehran University in the summer of 1999 praising government use of force to suppress student demonstrations.[34]

In 2000, in the first election after the end of his presidency, Rafsanjani ran again for Parliament. In the Tehran contest, Rafsanjani came in 30th, or last, place. At first, he was not among the 30 representatives of Tehran elected, as announced by the Iranian Ministry of the Interior, but the Council of Guardians then ruled numerous ballots void, leading to accusations of ballot fraud in Rafsanjani's favor.[34]

Rafsanjani in Eid al-Fitr prayer, while Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is sitting at his side

In December 2006, Rafsanjani was elected to the Assembly of Experts representing Tehran with more than 1.5 million votes, which was more than any other candidate. Ahmadinejad's opponents won the majority of local election seats. On 4 September 2007 he was elected Chairman of the Assembly of Experts, the body that selects Iran's supreme leader, in what was considered a blow to the supporters of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He won the chairmanship with 41 votes of the 76 cast. His ultraconservative opponent, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, received 31 votes.[47] Rafsanjani was re-elected to the position on 10 March 2009, running against Mohammad Yazdi. He received 51 votes compared to Yazdi's 26.[48][49] On 8 March 2011, he withdrew from the election and Ayatollah Mohammad Reza Mahdavi Kani was elected as his replacement.[50][51][52]

Following his presidency, Rafsanjani also became an advocate of greater freedom of expression and tolerance in Iranian society. In a speech on 17 July 2009, Rafsanjani criticized restriction of media and suppression of activists, and put emphasis on the role and vote of people in the Islamic Republic constitution.[53][54][55] The event has been considered by analysts as the most important and most turbulent Friday prayer in the history of contemporary Iran.[56] Nearly 1.5 to 2.5 million people attended the speech in Tehran.[57]

2009 election protests

Hashemi with one of the protest leaders, Mehdi Karroubi

During the 2009 presidential election, Rafsanjani's former rival and incumbent president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, won a disputed landslide victory over challenger Mir-Hossein Mousavi. His daughter was arrested on 21 June by plain clothes Basij during the subsequent protest[58] and later sentenced to six months in jail on charges of spreading propaganda against the Islamic Republic.[citation needed]

Ayatollah Akbar Rafsanjani was chairman of the Assembly of Experts, which is responsible for appointing or removing the Supreme Leader, who has been rumored to not be in the best of health.[59] After the disputed results of the election were certified by the Supreme Leader, Rafsanjani was reported to have called a meeting of the Assembly of Experts, but it is unknown what the outcome or disposition of this meeting actually was.[60] During this time Rafsanjani relocated from Tehran to Qom, where the country's religious leaders sit. However, for the most part, Rafsanjani was silent about the controversial 12 June election and its aftermath.[61]

On 17 July 2009, Rafsanjani publicly addressed the election crisis, mass arrests and the issue of freedom of expression during Friday prayers. The prayers witnessed an extremely large crowd that resembled the Friday prayers early after the revolution. Supporters of both reformist and conservative parties took part in the event. During prayers, Rafsanjani argued the following:[62]

All of us the establishment, the security forces, police, parliament and even protestors should move within the framework of law... We should open the doors to debates. We should not keep so many people in prison. We should free them to take care of their families. ... It is impossible to restore public confidence overnight, but we have to let everyone speak out. ... We should have logical and brotherly discussions and our people will make their judgments. ... We should let our media write within the framework of the law and we should not impose restrictions on them. ... We should let our media even criticize us. Our security forces, our police and other organs have to guarantee such a climate for criticism.[63]

His support for the Green Movement reinvigorated his image among the urban middle-class segments of Iranian society who made up the bulk of the movement and solidified Rafsanjani's role as a backer of factions within Iran that advocated the reform of the system to ensure its survival.

Assembly of Experts election


On 8 March 2011 Rafsanjani lost his post as chairman of the powerful Assembly of Experts, replaced by Ayatollah Mohammad-Reza Mahdavi Kani. Rafsanjani stated that he withdrew from the election for chairman to "avoid division." The loss was said to be the result of intensive lobbying "in recent weeks" by "hardliners and supporters" of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and part of Rafsanjani's gradual loss of power over the years.[64]

2013 presidential elections

Rafsanjani announcing his candidacy with his daughter, Fatemeh accompanied him.

On 11 May 2013, Rafsanjani registered for the 14 June presidential election with just minutes to spare.[65] Former reformist president Mohammad Khatami endorsed him.[66] However, on 21 May 2013, Iran's electoral center, Guardian Council disqualified him from standing in the presidential election.[67] On 11 June 2013, Rafsanjani endorsed moderate Hassan Rouhani in the elections for Iran's presidency saying the candidate was "more suitable" than others for presidency.[68]

Later years


Reformers had enjoyed his support in recent years, helping to tilt the balance of power towards more moderate forces who managed to win the presidential poll in 2013 with the victory of Hassan Rouhani and parliamentary elections in 2016.

Rafsanjani was viewed as having enough influence over Khamenei to bring moderate views into consideration. His death was therefore regarded as an event that strengthened the power of hardliners and weakened the influence of moderates.[69]

He also kept his traditional connections with the clergy in the holy city of Qom and with conservative forces within the political establishment, which made it difficult for hardliners to form a strong front against moderate forces.[70]

After winning reelection to his seat at Assembly of Experts as Tehran district's first person, Rafsanjani announced that it was the last time that he joined an election as a candidate and will be retired from politics at the end of the current term. He also said "Now I can die with peace of mind" after seeing election of a moderate parliament in the 2016 legislative election.[71]



Rafsanjani died on 8 January 2017, at 19:30 (UTC+03:30) due to a heart attack in a pool. He was brought immediately to Tajrish's Shohada-ye Tajrish Hospital in north Tehran, as reported by Iranian state-run media.[72][73][74] He was 82 years old at the time of his death.[75][76][77] The government announced three days of national mourning and a public holiday on his funeral day. Black banners were raised in Tehran and other cities and some posters showed the Supreme Leader and Rafsanjani together smiling. Five days of mourning also observed in the southern province of Kerman, where Ayatollah Rafsanjani's hometown of Rafsanjan is located.

Two months after his death, a highway in Northern Tehran was renamed in his honour. Many streets in other cities also named Rafsanjani. The central building of Azad University also named as Building and a statue of him was installed outside of the building. Kerman International Airport was also renamed to Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani Airport.

In 2018 Hassan Rouhani ordered the Iranian supreme national security council to reopen an investigation into Rafsanjani's death.[78] Family members stated that although an autopsy had not been performed, the level of radioactivity in his body was "10 times what is considered permissible" and that Rafsanjani's daughter Fatemeh and his wife also had unusually high levels of radioactivity.[79]




The names of the victims appear in the commemorative plaque in front of Mykonos restaurant in Berlin

Rafsanjani was sought by the Argentinian government for ordering the 1994 AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires.[80] It was based on the allegation that senior Iranian officials planned the attack in an August 1993 meeting, including Khamenei, the Supreme Leader, Mohammad Hejazi, Khamenei's intelligence and security advisor, Rafsanjani, then president, Ali Fallahian, then intelligence minister, and Ali Akbar Velayati, then foreign minister.[81]

Tension with Ahmadinejad

Khamenei and Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani

After his loss at the presidential elections in 2005, a growing tension between him and President Ahmadinejad arose. Rafsanjani had criticized Ahmadinejad's administration several times for conducting a purge of government officials,[82] slow move towards privatization[83] and recently hostile foreign policy in particular the atomic energy policy.[84] In return Ahmadinejad fought back that Rafsanjani failed to differentiate privatization with the corrupt takeover of government-owned companies and of foreign policies which led to sanctions against Iran in 1995 and 1996.[85][86] He also implicitly denounced Rafsanjani and his followers by calling those who criticize his nuclear program as "traitors".[87]

During a debate with Mir-Hossein Moussavi in 2009 presidential election, Ahmadinejad accused Rafsanjani of corruption. Rafsanjani released an open letter in which he complained about what he called the president's "insults, lies and false allegations" and asked the country's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, to intervene.[88]

Tension with Khamenei


In his latter years, Rafsanjani had disagreements with Ali Khamenei who has the last say in everything in Iran. Khamenei even indirectly called Rafsanjani a traitor.[89] Following his death, Khamanei said of Rafsanjani, " I don't know any other figure with whom I have had so many shared experiences and long history in ups and downs of this era which made history."[90][91][92]



Political parties


Before Iranian Revolution, Rafsanjani was active in the anti-Shah activities and reportedly associated with the Islamic Coalition's shura-ye ruhaniyat (lit.'Council of the Clergy')[93] and the People's Mujahidin.[94]

Although Rafsanjani was a member of the pragmatic-conservative Combatant Clergy Association, he had a close bond to the Executives of Construction Party and Moderation and Development Party.[95] In 2009, Rafsanjani ceased activity in the Combatant Clergy Association, despite remaining a member.[96][97]

He was regarded as flip-flopping between conservative and reformist camps since the election of Mohammad Khatami, supporting reformers in that election, but going back to the conservative camp in the 2000 parliamentary elections as a result of the reformist party severely criticizing and refusing to accept him as their candidate.[citation needed] Reformists, including Akbar Ganji, accused him of involvement in murdering dissidents and writers during his presidency. In the end, the major differences between the Kargozaran and the reformists party weakened both and eventually resulted in their loss at the presidential elections in 2005. However, Rafsanjani regained close ties with the reformers since he lost the 2005 presidential elections to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.[28]

Electoral history

Rafsanjani casting his vote in 2013 presidential election
Year Election Votes % Rank Notes
1980 Parliament 1,151,514 ≈54 15th Won
1982 Assembly of Experts 2,675,008 84 Won
1984 Parliament Increase 1,891,264 Increase 81.9 1st Won
1988 Parliament Decrease 1,573,587 Increase 82.3 1st Won
1989 President 15,537,394 96.1 1st Won
1990 Assembly of Experts Decrease 1,604,834 Increase 85 Won
1993 President Decrease 10,449,933 Decrease 64 1st Won
1998 Assembly of Experts Increase 1,682,188 Decrease 60 Won
2000 Parliament Decrease 749,884 Decrease 25.58 30th Won but withdrew
2005 President Decrease 6,211,937 Decrease 21.13 1st Went to run-off
President run-off Increase 10,046,701 Increase 35.93 2nd Lost
2006 Assembly of Experts Decrease 1,564,197 Decrease ≈41 1st Won
2013 President Disqualified
2016 Assembly of Experts Increase 2,301,492 Increase 51.13 1st Won

Personal life


From his marriage to Effat Marashi in 1958,[98] Rafsanjani had three sons: Mohsen, Mehdi, and Yasser, as well as two daughters, Fatemeh and Faezeh.[10] Only Faezeh Hashemi chose a political life, which led to her becoming a Majlis representative and then the publisher of the weekly newspaper Zan (meaning Woman in English), which was closed in February 1999.[99] In 2016, his daughter, Faezeh Hashemi, sparked a debate on religious persecution in Iran by visiting the female leader of the persecuted Baháʼí religious minority.[100] The two women had met in prison, when Faezeh was serving a six-month sentence for "spreading propaganda against the system". Rafsanjani's daughter, Fatemeh is President of Charity Foundation for Special Diseases and Mohsen was chairman of Tehran Metro Organization[101] and now is vice president of Azad University. His wife, Effat is the granddaughter of Mohammed Kazem Yazdi.

Family tree





The Rafsanjani family took their name from his great grandfather, whose last name was Hashem. When Akbar Hashemi was born, his father was a rich businessman with a valuable pistachio business.[104]

Hashemi and his partners also owned Islamic Azad University, worth an estimated US$20–25 billion.[105][106]

Rafsanjani's three sons own properties in Dubai, including two apartments in the Burj Khalifa.[107]

Assassination attempts

Rafsanjani speaking with the media after the first assassination attempt

Months after the revolution, Rafsanjani was shot once in the stomach[108] by one of the groups vying for power amid the political turmoil. He was not seriously wounded, and neither was his wife who jumped in front to shield him from the attack. "Great men of history do not die", Khomeini said in announcing that Rafsanjani had survived.



In addition, the full text of his Friday Prayer sermons and his congress keynote speeches are also published separately.[113] Based on his diary, viewpoints, speeches and interviews, several independent books have been published so far.

  • Encyclopedia of Quran (Farhang-e-Quran)

The book in fact considered as a key to the subjects and concepts of Quran. The book has been written by Rafsanjani and several other scholars.[114]Reception and legacy

Although he was a close follower of Ayatollah Khomeini and considered as a central elite during Islamic revolution, at the same time he was fan of reconstruction of shattered country after war and according to this fact, he selected his cabinets from western-educated technocrats and social reformers. His cabinet largely was a reformist one. Rafsanjani acquired both the support of Imam Khomeini in one hand and Majlis in other hand. In fact, he tried to transfer the economy towards the free-market system. There was a gap among Rafsanjani and Khatami and reform agenda because of his partnership with those who were conservative. The first face of reformist movements began by Rafsanjani.[115] His powerful role and control over Iranian politics earned him the name "Akbar Shah".[116][117]


  1. ^ Persian: علی اکبر هاشمی بهرمانی رفسنجانی, romanizedʿAlī Akbar Hāshimī Bahramānī Rafsanjānī

See also



  1. ^ Poursafa, Mahdi (20 January 2014). گزارش فارس از تاریخچه نشان‌های نظامی ایران، از «اقدس» تا «فتح»؛ مدال‌هایی که بر سینه سرداران ایرانی نشسته است [From "Aghdas" to "Fath": Medals resting on the chest of Iranian Serdars] (in Persian). Fars News. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  2. ^ "Iran's Rafsanjani Registers for presidential race". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 11 June 2013. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  3. ^ Dehghan, Saeed Kamali (9 January 2018). "Iran reopens investigation into Rafsanjani death". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 June 2021.
  4. ^ "Iranian politics after the nuclear deal". The Economist. 28 May 2016. Retrieved 29 May 2016.
  5. ^ RK Ramazani, Revolutionary Iran: Challenge and Response in the Middle East, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987.
  6. ^ "Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Ex-President of Iran, Dies at 82". The New York Times. 8 January 2017.
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Further reading




Political offices
Preceded by Minister of Interior

Succeeded by
Preceded by President of Iran
Succeeded by
Chairman of the Expediency Discernment Council
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chairman of the Assembly of Experts
Succeeded by
Military offices
New title Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Iranian Armed Forces
Academic offices
Preceded by
Chairman of Board of Trustees of Islamic Azad University
Succeeded by
Assembly seats
Title last held by
Javad Saeed
Speaker of the Parliament
Succeeded by
Honorary titles
Preceded by Most voted MP for Tehran, Rey, Shemiranat and Eslamshahr
1984, 1988
Succeeded by