The sudden demise of Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a leading figure in the history of the Islamic Republic of Iran and a politician known for his moderate approaches towards other countries, particularly the Arab world, has received widespread reactions.
In addition to world media that immediately covered the death of Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani on Sunday evening, many politicians and states have also showed official reactions to his death.
The US State Department sent condolences to family of ex-president Rafsanjani, and called him a “prominent figure” in post-revolution Iran.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in a post in his Twitter account that he is “deeply saddened by demise of Hashemi Rafsanjani, former president of Iran. May Allah rest his soul in peace. Condolences to family and people of Iran.”
Former President and Prime Minister of Turkey Abdullah Gul, who was a minister of state when Rafsanjani was Iran’s President, also noted in Twitter that “I am very sad to learn about the demise of President Rafsanjani. May Allah rest his soul in peace.”
In one of the earliest reactions, the Foreign Minister of Bahrain, which long has accused Iran of meddling in its internal affairs, simply said “God bless Rafsanjani” in a post on Twitter. A separate condolence from King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa to Iran said he was “praying to almighty God for his soul to rest in peace and inspire Iran’s president, its people and his family.”
Kuwait’s ruling emir, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, sent condolences over Ayatollah Rafsanjani, saying he “prayed to Allah the almighty to bestow blessings on the deceased.”
Qatar, which shares a massive offshore natural gas field with Iran, sent condolences from ruling Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani over Rafsanjani’s death.
The seven-sheikhdom federation of United Arab Emirates, home to Dubai, which has a large ethnic Persian population, sent condolences from its leaders to Iran over Rafsanjani’s death. Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash, who is among the most-vocal Persian Gulf officials in criticizing Iran, said on Twitter that Rafsanjani was “one of the voices of political realism and moderation in Iran.” The emirs of Dubai and crown prince of Abu Dhabi also sent condolences.
Iraqi President Muhammad Fuad Masum, former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, and Head of the Supreme Islamic Council of Iraq Ammar Hakim have sent messages of condolence over the passing of Ayatollah Rafsanjani.
Moreover, representative of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement in Tehran, Nasser Abu Sharif, described the passing of “an age-old friend of Imam Khomeini and a pillar of the Islamic Revolution’s struggles” as a great sorrow felt by the Islamic Revolution lovers around the world, particularly the Palestinians.
He also paid tribute to Ayatollah Rafsanjani for devoting long years of his life to supporting the cause of Palestine.
Secretary-General of Lebanese Resistance Group Hezbollah Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah called Rafsanjani “a great man” and a “protector and supporter” of modern political Shiism in the Middle East. He lamented Rafsanjani’s passing as a loss to the Muslim world, Associated Press reported.
A Hamas representative in Tehran also sent condolences and expressed grief over the demise.
However, Saudi Arabia, which has severed its relations with Iran since the beginning of 2016, noticeably did not immediately send condolences over Rafsanjani’s death. One of its state-run television channels aired an interview with an MKO [anti-Iran terrorists] official who raised accusations against Rafsanjani over his alleged role in 1988 executions in Iran.
Meanwhile, Emomali Rahmon, the President of Persian-speaking Tajikistan, sent a message of condolence to Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani.
Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah has also offered his condolences to Iran over the top cleric’s death.
Pakistani Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif also expressed deep grief over the death of Rafsanjani, and described him as an influential figure not only in Iran but also a symbol of reconciliatory peace efforts at the international level.
Terming Rafsanjani a “rational pragmatist”, the Pakistani Prime Minister stated that his reform agenda for Iran also provided much needed guidance for the unity of the Muslim world.
Nawaz Sharif prayed for the departed soul and conveyed condolences on behalf of the people and Government of Pakistan to the brotherly people of Iran.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also issued a message of condolence on the occasion of Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani’s demise.
Also, Gary Lewis, the UN resident coordinator in Iran, posted a message on his Twitter account, saying, “Entire UN family in Iran extends sincere condolences on sad demise of Fmr Pres Hashemi Rafsanjani”.