Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani died Sunday of a heart attack and was buried Tuesday at the mausoleum of the Imam Khomeini, alongside the founder of the Islamic Republic with whom he had been a close collaborator. A huge crowd of over two million people, many of them in tears, paid tribute in the streets of Tehran to the former President of Iran and head of the Expediency Discernment Council.
Prayers were led by the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, at the University of Tehran, where the coffin was displayed before being carried into the mosque in the neighborhood of Jamaran. There the funeral ceremony was held in the presence of the highest state authorities, including President Hassan Rouhani, Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani and Chief Justice Sadeq Amoli Larijani. Then the funeral procession headed to the mausoleum where tens of thousands of people gathered to pay last respects to the former president.
The massive participation of Iranians at the funeral confirms the influence Rafsanjani had on the events of the last 40 years. And not only for the role he played in the beginning of the Islamic revolution, when, in 1977, he was one of the founders of the association of clerics who two years later would be crucial to the victory of Khomeini and the end of the dictatorship of the Shah Reza Pahlevi. Rafsanjani was the first speaker of the Iranian Parliament after the revolution and the President of the Republic for two terms, until 1997.