Former Iranian president Hashemi Rafsanjani passes away

Former president of Iran Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has died at the age of 82.

Rafsanjani, president from 1989 to 1997, suffered a heart attack. He was admitted to the Shohadaa Hospital in Tehran on Sunday, where doctors tried unsuccessfully for an hour to save him, media said.

A TV broadcaster broke into programmes to bring the news, saying Mr Rafsanjani "after a life full of restless efforts in the path of Islam and revolution, had departed for lofty heaven".

In recent years, he has been a central figure in the reform movement that has been trying to have a moderating influence on Iran and Ayatollah Khamenei, BBC reports.

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