Hassan Rouhani

Death of former Iranian leader Rafsanjani could be blow to moderates

Death of former Iranian leader Rafsanjani could be blow to moderates

The death of former Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has silenced one of the most powerful  allies of moderates in Tehran and is likely to strengthen the hand of conservatives heading into this year's presidential election.

Rafsanjani, who supported social freedoms and outreach to the United States, died of a heart attack Sunday at age 82, state media reported. Although his legacy was tarnished by allegations of corruption and authoritarianism, his backing helped moderate President Hassan Rouhani win election in 2013, setting the Islamic Republic on a path to ending its disputed nuclear program and easing its isolation from the West.

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