Rafsanjani, Hashemi(Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani) (älē` äk`bär häsh`əmē räf'sänjän`ē), 1934–2017, Iranian religious and political leader, president of Iran (1989–97). A Shiite clergyman and supporter of Ayotallah KhomeiniKhomeini, Ayatollah Ruhollah
, 1900–1989, Iranian Shiite religious leader. Educated in Islam at home and in theological schools, in the 1950s he was designated ayatollah, a supreme religious leader, in the Iranian Shiite community.
..... Click the link for more information. , Rafsanjani was imprisoned several times during the 1960s and 70s for his political activities. After the ouster of the Shah (see Muhammad Reza Shah PahleviMuhammad Reza Shah Pahlevi
, 1919–80, shah of Iran (1941–79). Educated in Switzerland, he returned (1935) to Iran to attend the military academy in Tehran. He ascended the throne in 1941 after his father, Reza Shah Pahlevi, suspected of collaboration with the
..... Click the link for more information. ), Rafsanjani helped found the Islamic Republican party and built his political power base as speaker of the parliament (1980–89). From 1988 to 1989 he was also acting commander in chief of the armed forces. In 1989 he supported the election of Ali KhameneiKhamenei, Ali
(Mohammad Ali Hoseyn Khamenei) , 1939–, Iranian religious and political leader, b. Mashhad. A Shiite Islamic cleric who was the son of an ayatollah, Khamenei began his religious studies at a young age, and was briefly at Najaf, Iraq (1957), before he settled
..... Click the link for more information. to succeed Khomeini as supreme leader.
Rafsanjani was elected president of Iran in 1989, receiving some 95% of the vote. A pragmatic conservative, he sought to revive Iran's badly flagging economy on free-market principles and moved to improve relations with the West, reestablish Iran as a regional power, and gradually reopen the country to foreign investment. He also was linked to killings of Iranian dissidents and intellectuals in Iran and abroad by Iranian intelligence operatives. Rafsanjani was reelected in 1993 with two thirds of the vote but was barred from seeking a third term in the 1997 elections. That year he was first appointed chairman of the Expediency Discernment Council (EDC), responsible for resolving disputes between the parliament and Guardian Council concerning legislation (and in 2005 was also charged by Ayatollah Khamenei with exercising some of his oversight responsibilities as supreme leader). He continued to lead the EDC until his death. In 2000 he was narrowly elected to parliament, but he soon resigned his seat.
In 2005 Rafsanjani again ran for the presidency, but despite support from reformists in the runoff election he lost to hardline conservative candidate Mahmoud AhmadinejadAhmadinejad, Mahmoud
, 1956–, Iranian politician. From a humble background, he supported the Islamic revolution (1979) while working toward his civil engineering doctorate and was a founder of the student union that occupied the U.S. embassy.
..... Click the link for more information. . In Dec., 2006, however, Rafsanjani won a landslide victory in his election to the Assembly of Experts in a reversal of the 2005 results. The previous month an Argentinian judge had issued a warrant for Rafsanjani's arrest in connection with the 1994 bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish center; Argentinian authorities accused Iran of backing the attack, a charge Iran rejected. Rafsanjani served as speaker of the Assembly of Experts from 2007 to 2011. During the 2009 presidential election he backed Mir Hossein MousaviMousavi, Mir Hossein
, 1941–, Iranian political leader and architect. Active in Islamic groups and in the opposition to the Shah's rule, he was (1979) a founder of the Islamic Republican party and served as foreign minister (1981) and prime minister (1981–89) after
..... Click the link for more information. , and after the vote and protests against Mousavi's loss he criticized the government reaction to the protests. Rafsanjani registered for the 2013 presidential election but was barred from running by the Guardian Council. He subsequently supported Hassan RowhaniRowhani, Hassan
, 1948–, Iranian cleric and political leader, b. Sorkheh, studied Semnan and Qom seminaries, Tehran Univ. (law degree, 1972), Glasgow Caledonian Univ. (D.Phil., 1997). As a young cleric he was part of Ayatollah Khomeini's entourage in France.
..... Click the link for more information. , who won the presidency in the first round.