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Iranians hold funeral ceremony for ex-president Ayatollah Rafsanjani

Iranian officials join a large crowd of people mourning the passing of Ayatollah Rafsanjani at Jamaran Mosque, northern Tehran, January 9, 2017. (Photo by IRNA)

Huge crowds of mourners have streamed into the streets of Tehran to pay their final respects to Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former Iranian president and chairman of the Expediency Council, who is viewed as a pillar of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

On Tuesday morning, a massive mourning ceremony was held for the late cleric at Tehran University, where Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei performed the funeral prayers.

President Hassan Rouhani, Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani and Judiciary Chief Sadeq Amoli Larijani also attended the funeral procession.

Among other participants were government ministers, lawmakers, military top brass, members of the Expediency Council and the Assembly of Experts as well as a number of foreign ambassadors and dignitaries.

Iranian mourners take part in a funeral ceremony for Ayatollah Rafsanjani in Tehran, January 10, 2017. (Photo by IRNA)

The body of the venerated cleric was laid to rest at the mausoleum of the late Founder of the Islamic Republic Imam Khomeini in southern Tehran later in the day.

Tens of thousands of mourners took part in the burial ceremony on Tuesday, which was a public holiday across the country.

Ayatollah Rafsanjani was admitted to Shohada Hospital in northern Tehran on Sunday after suffering a heart attack. He passed away later in the day. He was 82.

Iran is observing three days of national mourning in honor of Ayatollah Rafsanjani.

On Monday, a mourning ceremony was held at Jamaran Mosque in Tehran. President Rouhani along with other senior officials attended the funeral.


Rafsanjani helped establish the Combatant Clergy Association in 1977, which proved fatefully instrumental in the victory of the Islamic Revolution two years later.

Front pages of the January 9, 2017, edition of Iranian newspapers, published with pictures of late Ayatollah Rafsanjani. (Photo by AP)

He became Iran’s first Speaker of Parliament after the Revolution, serving until 1989.

In the same year, he was elected president, in which position he functioned until 1997.

He was also the chairman of the Expediency Council, a position he kept until his departure.

Since Sunday, messages of condolence have poured in both from home and abroad.

In a sign of mourning, Iranian national flags were also flown at half-staff at the country’s diplomatic missions in a number of countries, including Turkey, Syria and the United Arab Emirates. 

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