Iran holds funeral ceremony for Rafsanjani
TEHRAN - Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was laid to rest on Tuesday, capping three days of mourning as millions of Iranians said farewell to the “pillar of the Revolution” with a mix of tears and choruses of “Hashemi Is Alive.”
The body of the first-generation revolutionary was buried in the mausoleum of Imam Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, in southern Tehran.
Rafsanjani, 82, died immediately after being admitted to a Tehran hospital on Sunday with a heart condition.
For Iran's moderate and reformist camps, Rafsanjani was a father figure though he practiced conservatism during two terms of his presidency (1989-1997).
At least two million and a half of people lined streets and plazas across the route to bid farewell to Rafsanjani, who was the commander-in-chief during Iraq’s war against Iran in the 1980s.
It took the cortege hours to pass through the crowds to arrive at the mausoleum.
Funeral prayers were performed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei who called the late veteran politician “old friend and comrade.”
Other senior officials, including President Hassan Rouhani, Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani and Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, accompanied the Leader at the prayers.
Since Rafsanjani's passing, messages of condolence have been pouring in both from home and abroad.
“After the loss of Hashemi, I know of no other personality, with whom I had such a common experience over such a long period,” the Leader said in a message on Sunday.
"The soul of the great man of the Revolution, symbol of patience and resistance has gone to Heaven," Rouhani tweeted hours after Rafsanjani’s death.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the demise of Rafsanjani is too painful to put it in words. “The late Ayatollah Hashemi (Rafsanjani) was such a great man,” Zarif noted.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Rafsanjani was a "prominent figure" and a "consequential figure" in Iran's history.
President Putin’s special envoy also attended Iran’s embassy in Moscow, offering condolences.
Syrian President Bashar Assad offered condolences in a statement that said Rafsanjani was known for his "courageous and frank stances and his hard work for the sake of the dignity and freedom of the Iranian people”.
Also, Lebanese, Omani, Kuwaiti, Qatari, Bahraini, South African, Nicaraguan, Venezuelan, and UAE officials sent messages of condolence to Iran.