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Rafsanjani funeral draws huge crowds to Tehran

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By Catherine Hardy  with BBC, Reuters
Rafsanjani funeral draws huge crowds to Tehran

Tens of thousands of Iranians have turned out for the funeral of former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani in Tehran.

The 82-year-old died of a heart attack on Sunday.

He was president from 1989 to 1997.

Who is leading the ceremony?

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei will perform prayers at the ceremony.

It is being held at Tehran University.

Official mourning

Three days of official mourning got underway on Monday.

The former president will be interred next to Iran’s revolutionary leader, Ayatollah Khomeini.

Political overtones

The funeral is being seen as a show of force by reformists and moderates.

Analysts say Mr Rafsanjani was a figurehead for them in recent years.

His death, ahead of May’s presidential elections, is a blow to moderate president Hassan Rouhani.

He allied himself with Rafsanjani to win the 2013 election and went on to resolve Iran’s long standoff with the West on Tehran’s nuclear programme.

However, hardliners are also expected to attend the service in large numbers.


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