Iran Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani has offered condolences to the South African government, parliament and nation on the departure of the country’s anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela.
In a message on Friday, Larijani expressed regret over the death of the “great champion of freedom-seeking and struggle against racism” in Africa.
He praised Mandela, who died on Thursday at the age of 95, for devoting “his entire life to fight against...racial discrimination and apartheid in an attempt to eradicate and negate this colonialist-era product.”
“He was the symbol of anti-racism uprisings and his actions serve as instructions and model for all freedom-lovers and free thinkers.”
Mandela, who led South Africa’s transition from white minority rule in the 1990s after nearly three decades in prison, was one of the towering political figures of the 20th century.
He had been receiving home-based medical care for a lung infection after three months in hospital. He had been suffering from chronic respiratory conditions, probably due to the fact that he contracted tuberculosis in prison years ago.
Mandela served as president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, and was the first South African president to be elected in a fully democratic election.
After years of resistance against the apartheid rule in South Africa, Mandela was arrested in 1962. He was sentenced to life in prison, where he served over 27 years. He spent many of those years on Robben Island.
Following his release from prison on February 11, 1990, Mandela led the African National Congress in the negotiations that led to multi-racial democracy in 1994. As president, he frequently gave priority to reconciliation. He left office in 1999 after serving one term as president.
Mandela received more than 250 awards over four decades, including the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize.