Condolences pour in from across world over the passing of Chairman of Iranian Expediency Council Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, as Iranian people and authorities pay tribute to the late iconic cleric.
On Monday morning, large groups of people from all walks of life gathered at Jamaran prayer hall in northern Tehran, where the body of Ayatollah Rafsanjani was transferred, to mourn his demise.
President Hassan Rouhani and his cabinet members as well as Ayatollah Rasfanjani’s family also took part in the mourning procession at the mosque.
Iran is observing three days of national mourning in honor of the late cleric. He will be laid to rest on Tuesday, with Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Khamenei set to lead the funeral prayer.
Ayatollah Rafsanjani passed away on Sunday at the age of 82 due to a heart condition.
He was one of the key aides to the late founder of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini, and played an influential role both during the anti-Shah struggles before the victory of the 1979 Islamic Revolution and afterwards through various stages of the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Rafsanjani was also a key figure during the eight years of the Iraq-imposed war (1980-88), serving as the acting commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
Many Iranian and world figures have expressed condolences over the death of the former president.
Ayatollah Khamenei offered his condolences over the sudden demise of an old friend, comrade and ally. The Leader noted that Rafsanjani’s loss was overwhelming and very hard to bear, adding that their cooperation and friendship had lasted for 59 years.
President Rouhani also expressed condolences over Ayatollah Rafsanjani’s demise, which he described as a “great loss” for Islam, Iran and the Islamic Revolution.
The Iranian president further said Ayatollah Rafsanjani was among the prominent architects of the Islamic Revolution, and a symbol of “patience, faith and moderation.”
The influential cleric had no fear of war, but always remained a peace advocate, who had a “rich knowledge of the world,” added Rouhani.
Ayatollah Seyyed Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, Chairman of the Assembly of Experts Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani and many more also expressed their condolences.
Meanwhile in a statement on Monday, Hezbollah Secretary General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah offered condolences to the Iranian nation, praising Ayatollah Rafsanjani as a firm supporter of the anti-Israel resistance front.
Nasrallah said Ayatollah Rafsanjani was a flag-bearer of the Palestinian cause, as the main issue of the Muslim world, and stood by the resistance movement facing Israeli plots against Palestine and the entire region.
Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri also offered condolences to the Iranian nation and government over the passing of the veteran politician and iconic official.
The two Lebanese officials praised Ayatollah Rafsanjani as a supporter of Lebanon and its sovereignty and stability.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was among other heads of state to express deep regret over the demise of the high-ranking Iranian official. He described Ayatollah Rafsanjani as an influential figure who was popular among the Iranian people.
Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, the leader of Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement, also sent a message of condolence to Ayatollah Khamenei, in which he hailed the late cleric as a well-known supporter of the Lebanese and Palestinian resistance.
He added that the Iranian cleric made great endeavors towards reinforcing unity among Muslim nations in the face of plots by the US, the Israeli regime and the mercenaries supporting Takfiri terrorists in the Middle East.
Condolences were also offered by former Turkish president Abdullah Gül, Afghanistan's Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, Iraq’s former prime minister and current Vice President Nouri al-Maliki, Turkish Minister of European Union Affairs Omer Celik, the UN resident coordinator in Iran Gary Lewis, Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifah, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Among other foreign officials and dignitaries who also sent their messages of condolence to Iran were Tajikistan’s President Imomali Rakhmon and, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Meanwhile, the Emir of Kuwait Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, and Palestine’s Islamic Jihad Organization also expressed their sympathies over the passing away of Iran’s former president.
In a statement, a US State Department official referred to Ayatollah Rafsanjani as a “prominent figure” throughout the history of Iran. “We send our condolences to his family and loved ones,” read the statement.