The Atlantic

The Long Career of Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani

From revolutionary to establishment power-broker
Source: STR New

Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, who died in Tehran from a heart attack Sunday, was one of the dominant and enduring leaders of the Iranian revolution and the Islamic Republic: a fiery revolutionary, a member of parliament, a shaper of the Islamic Republic’s governing structure, and a moderate president who favored economic reform over religious dictates.

As a young cleric in the 1960s and 1970s, Rafsanjani supported Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the revolutionary movement that would ultimately overthrow the shah and establish the Islamic Republic in 1979—activities that got him imprisoned before the shah fell. Following the revolution, he won Khomeini’s confidence, securing a place on the Revolutionary Council, a key policy body and power center. In the revolution’s early years of bitter, often

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