TEHRAN, Jan. 8 (UPI) — Former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani died Sunday of a heart attack, according to the state-run news agency. He was 82.
The Islamic Republic News Agency announced Rafsanjani died after being taken to Tajreesh Martyres Hospital in northern Tehran earlier in the day. His death also was confirmed by the Fars news agency.
Rafsanjani, who served as president from 1989 to 1997, “passed away after a lifetime of fighting and constant efforts in line with fulfilling the goals of Islam and the revolution,” according to the agency. The agency earlier reported Sunday that Rafsanjani’s brother Mohammad Hashemi said he was feeling better after being taken to the hospital.
Rafsanjani lost to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad when he ran again in 2005. Until his death, he had been serving as head of the Expediency Council, which tries to resolve disputes between parliament and the Guardian Council.
The council had disqualified Rafsanjani after tried to run again in 2013.
He backed victorious candidate, Hassan Rouhani, who ran on the slogan “moderation and prudence.”
Rafsanjani had called for the release of political prisoners and greater political freedoms and favored improving ties to the West.