Death of Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani Is Blow to Iran Reform Movement
TEHRAN — Iran’s political hierarchy was roiled with new uncertainty on Sunday from the death of Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former president and influential voice who had supported improved relations with the United States and other Western powers.
德黑兰——周日，伊朗前总统阿里·阿克巴尔·哈什米·拉夫桑贾尼(Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani)的去世给该国的政治秩序带来新的不确定性。拉夫桑贾尼是一位有影响力的人物，支持改善与美国等西方大国的关系。
Mr. Rafsanjani, 82, was also regarded a protector of what was left of Iran’s marginalized reformist movement and others with more moderate views than the conservative hard-line clerics who hold sway in Iran’s security forces and judiciary.
He supported Hassan Rouhani, the current president, who is now suddenly bereft of a powerful and influential background figure with Islamic revolutionary credentials that could not be questioned. Mr. Rafsanjani also was a longtime comrade of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, although the two had their disagreements.
拉夫桑贾尼支持现任总统哈桑·鲁哈尼(Hassan Rouhani)。现在，鲁哈尼突然失去了一个有影响力的强大后台——他拥有不容置疑的伊斯兰革命者声望。拉夫桑贾尼也是伊朗最高领袖阿亚图拉阿里·哈梅内伊(Ayatollah Ali Khamenei)的长期战友，虽然两人也有分歧。
Mr. Rafsanjani’s death from a stroke, which was announced Sunday on state television, came as Iran is struggling to emerge from years of economic isolation and is facing new uncertainties in its estranged relations with the United States.
President-elect Donald J. Trump has expressed strong disapproval of the international nuclear agreement between Iran and six major powers, including the United States, that eased sanctions on Iran in exchange for verifiable guarantees that its nuclear work remains peaceful.
美国候任总统唐纳德·J·特朗普(Donald J. Trump)强烈反对伊朗与包括美国在内的六个大国签订的国际核协议，该协议放松了对伊朗的制裁，以换取伊朗的一个可证实的保证——其核项目将始终用于和平目的。
Mr. Rafsanjani’s absence could embolden the extreme anti-American elements of Iran’s leadership and further dampen the prospects of any improvement in relations with the United States.
His death is also considered a huge blow for Iran’s reformists and moderates for whom he was a leader and figurehead.
“He will be missed,” said Farshad Ghorbanpour, a political analyst close to the reformists. “He was increasingly powerless, but gave us hope. Now we will have to do without him.”
Mr. Khamenei, in a statement on his official website, said, “The loss of a comrade and ally, with whom I share a friendship that dates back to 59 years ago, is difficult and heart-rending.”
He praised Mr. Rafsanjani for his “high intelligence”, terming him a dependable figure “for those who worked with him, particularly me.” Mr. Khamenei also said their differences in views over the years “could never break this friendship.”
Mr. Rafsanjani had a long career as a revolutionary, but was also suspected of accumulating great wealth and influence in the process. He was one of the leaders of the 1979 Islamic revolution, and an aide to the founder of the Islamic republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. He also played a kingmaker role in picking Ayatollah Khamenei, Ayatollah Khomeini’s successor.
拉夫桑贾尼有过一段漫长的革命生涯，但也被人怀疑在此过程中积累了巨额财富和影响力。他是1979年伊斯兰革命的领导者之一，伊斯兰共和国创立者阿亚图拉·鲁霍拉·霍梅尼(Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini)的一名助手。他在挑选阿亚图拉霍梅尼的继任者阿亚图拉哈梅内伊的过程中扮演了拥立者的角色。
“He was one of the most influential figures before and after the revolution,” said Ali Khorram, Iran’s former ambassador to China.
Mr. Rafsanjani’s death means that Mr. Rouhani is now the main leader of those calling for change in Iran.
The former reformist president Mohammad Khatami has more support from ordinary Iranians, but has been nearly silenced by hard-liners, who do not allow him to appear on television or have his image published in newspapers.
Mr. Rafsanjani was president from 1989 to 1997. But after his presidency, political rivals, jealous of his grip on the economy, seized on his support for reformists and labeled him an “aristocrat,” a “capitalist” and a supporter of “American Islam”
By 2002, his political stock had fallen so low he could not even muster the votes to win a seat in Parliament. He sustained a humiliating defeat against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the 2005 presidential election.
After his election loss, Mr. Rafsanjani was propelled into the role of a critical politician, increasingly at odds with Mr. Khamenei over the direction the revolution should take. Where Iran’s supreme leader backed the continuation of a harsh, anti-Western ideological line, Mr. Rafsanjani pleaded for an update of the political system, bringing it on par with Iran’s changing society.
His speech in favor of greater freedom during the enormous 2009 protests that followed a presidential election in which the results were widely seen as fraudulent alienated him from Iran’s conservative clerics and military commanders.
In 2013, attempting a political comeback at 79, he was barred from seeking the presidency by the Guardian Council, a decision that shocked Iranians. The disqualification seemed like an official repudiation of his ideas of a liberal economy and more freedoms.
In 2015, his son, Mehdi Hashemi, a hated figure among Iranian hard-liners, was given a 15-year prison sentence after he was convicted of bribery and embezzlement.
In 2016, his daughter, Faezeh Hashemi, sparked a debate on religious persecution in Iran by visiting the female leader of the persecuted Bahai religious minority. The two women had met in prison, when Ms. Hashemi was serving a six-month sentence for “spreading propaganda against the system.”
The semiofficial Fars news agency is reporting that Mr. Rafsanjani will be buried on Tuesday in a state funeral. Schools, offices and governmental organizations will be closed for several days.