The Path Rafsanjani Passed and His Special Role in Karabakh Conflict Settlement Process
Iran's ex-President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani died at the age of 82. The influence that Rafsanjani had in the Islamic Republic is proved by the fact that the Iranian cabinet declared three days of public mourning following the death of the former President and announced January 10 as public holiday.
According to the Iranian News Agency Tasnim, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in his message called Rafsanjani "an old friend and ally of the era of Islamic Movement and a close colleague during the Islamic Republic era". The Iranian Supreme Leader said "disagreements during these long years were unable to break bonds 59 years of friendship".
Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was one of the main actors of the Islamic revolution and a close ally of Ali Khamenei. During the 1960-70-ies he was arrested several times for his political activities. After the overthrow of the Shah he was involved in the formation of the Islamic Republican Party. In 1980-89 he held the post of the Speaker of the Iranian Parliament. During the Iran-Iraq War (1980-88) was the de facto commander of the Iranian armed forces.
Rafsanjani served as Iran's president in 1989-1997 years. In 2007-2011 he headed the Expert Council, which selects the supreme leader of the country. Along with Iran’s current President Hassan Rouhani Rafsanjani represented the moderate wing of the Council, and it was expected that moderates could win the elections in the Council headed by Rafsanjani. Thus, some experts already predict that Rafsanjani's death would be a serious blow to Rouhani that intends to run in the presidential elections in May 2017.
It is noteworthy that Rafsanjani played a special role in the mediation undertaken by Iran in 1992, when by the invitation of Rafsanjani the Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders Levon Ter-Petrosyan and Yaqub Mamedov arrived in Tehran in order to discuss the Karabakh conflict settlement. During the negotiations Rafsanjani announced that the conflict should be resolved by political means. Unfortunately, Iranian mediation failed to achieve long-term results, but it confirmed the balanced position of Iran on Karabakh conflict.
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