Powerful former Iranian president Rafsanjani dies in Tehran hospital

Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is shown in 2009 (CNN photo)

The official IRNA news agency reported earlier in the day that Rafsanjani had been taken to a public hospital north of the capital, Tehran. The semi-official ISNA news agency quoted Mohammad Hashemi, his brother, as saying that Rafsanjani was in good condition.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani reportedly visited Rafsanjani in the hospital and a short time later the former president was dead.

Rafsanjani, who served as president from 1989 to 1997, was a leading politician who has often played kingmaker in the country’s turbulent politics. He supported Rouhani.

Rafsanjani was the current head of the Expediency Council, a body that advises Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and in March he won a seat on a clerical body that will one day decide Khamenei’s successor.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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