Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Ex-President of Iran, Dies at 82
Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former president of Iran and a founder of the Islamic Republic, who navigated the opaque shoals of his country’s theocracy as one of its most enduring and wealthiest leaders, died Sunday in Tehran. He was 82.
伊朗前总统、这个伊斯兰共和国开国元勋阿亚图拉阿里·阿克巴尔·哈什米·拉夫桑贾尼(Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani)周日在德黑兰去世，享年82岁。作为伊朗影响力最持久、最富有的领导人之一，他领导该国度过了神权政治的诸多险滩。
His death was announced by Iran’s state television.
As his career seesawed through periods of revolutionary zeal and confrontation with powerful conservative rivals, he was portrayed as a Machiavellian and often ruthless player in the power struggles among Iran’s elite factions, protected by his close association with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the revolutionary leader who overthrew the shah in 1979.
Known as a pragmatist and centrist inclined toward economic liberalism and political authoritarianism, Rafsanjani was accused by critics of corruption in amassing his fortune and of a readiness for harsh tactics to deal with dissent.
Argentina has accused Rafsanjani and other senior Iranian figures of complicity in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, in which 85 people died. In 1997, a German court concluded that the highest levels of Iran’s political leadership had ordered the killing five years earlier of four exiled Iranian Kurdish dissidents in Berlin. Rafsanjani was president from 1989 to 1997.
Yet many Western analysts believed that he sought a less confrontational relationship with the United States than other powerful figures in the Iranian hierarchy. Rafsanjani, for instance, was credited with suggesting that “Death to America” be dropped from the litany of slogans at Tehran’s Friday prayers.
In the closing stages of the Iran-Iraq war, which lasted from 1980 to 1988, Rafsanjani was appointed acting commander in chief of Iranian forces and was widely credited with persuading the leadership in Tehran to accept a U.N. resolution that ended the fighting.
For much of his career, he maintained roles in parliament and on influential clerical panels.
Rafsanjani’s clout declined sharply during the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, from 2005 to 2013. A populist conservative, Ahmadinejad had a strong following among poor Iranians, many of whom resented the affluence that endeared Rafsanjani to his wealthier compatriots.
In 2013, Rafsanjani was disqualified from standing in presidential elections and swung his political weight behind a moderate, longtime associate, Hassan Rouhani, who won the vote and went on to bring many of Rafsanjani’s supporters into his Cabinet and to negotiate the nuclear agreement with the United States in 2015.