Rafsanjani was a pivotal figure in the foundation of the Islamic Republic.
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Former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a pugnacious moderate who survived for decades despite challenging his own turbaned elite, died Sunday after suffering a heart attack.Rafsanjani, who was 82, was a pivotal figure in the foundation of the Islamic Republic in 1979, and served as president from 1989 to 1997 .President Hassan Rouhani, who was reportedly at Rafsanjani's bedside in the hospital, also expressed his grief in a tweet.For the Assembly election, Rafsanjani, whose nickname "Kuseh" means both "beardless" and "shark" for his unbearded face, backed a less-conservative bloc of candidates that included Rouhani.Rafsanjani led the Assembly from 2007 to 2011 .Most analysts viewed Rafsanjani, who served as president from 1989 to 1997, as the second-most powerful figure in Iran after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.After Khamenei assumed the position of supreme leader, Rafsanjani was elected president for two terms.Many politicians have described Rafsanjani as "a pillar of the revolution," while his pragmatic economic and foreign policies have always appealed to many Iranians.
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