Act­ing Pres­i­dent mourns for­mer Iran leader

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Fa­tima Bulla Her­ald Re­porter

ACT­ING Pres­i­dent Phelekezela Mphoko has de­scribed the role played by the late for­mer Pres­i­dent of Iran, Ay­a­tol­lah Ak­bar Hashemi Raf­san­jani, as one that in­spired many Zim­bab­weans to re­dou­ble their ef­forts in fight­ing for their in­de­pen­dence and na­tion­hood.

The for­mer Iran leader died of a heart at­tack on Jan­uary 8 in Tehran at the age of 82.

Act­ing Pres­i­dent Mphoko re­layed his mes­sage when he signed the book of con­do­lences at the Em­bassy of the Is­lamic Repub­lic of Iran in Harare on Thurs­day.

“The peo­ple of the Repub­lic of Zim­babwe will re­mem­ber the cleric as a rev­o­lu­tion­ary who played a prom­i­nent role in the Ira­nian Rev­o­lu­tion of 1979, a rev­o­lu­tion which in­spired many Zim­bab­weans to re­dou­ble their ef­forts in fight­ing for their own in­de­pen­dence and na­tion­hood,” he said.

“Zim­babwe re­calls the many con­tri­bu­tions that the great states­man made to the po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment of the Is­lamic Repub­lic of Iran.”

Over the last 38 years, for­mer Pres­i­dent Raf­san­jani served as Pres­i­dent, Speaker of Par­lia­ment, act­ing Com­man­der-in-Chief of the Armed Forces dur­ing the eight-year Iraqi im­posed war on Iran, Head of the Assem­bly of Ex­perts, and the Ex­pe­di­ency Coun­cil.

The late fourth pres­i­dent of the Is­lamic Repub­lic vis­ited Zim­babwe in 1996.

Act­ing Pres­i­dent Mphoko said Pres­i­dent Raf­san­jani con­trib­uted im­mensely to eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion be­tween Zim­babwe and Iran.

“As the Pres­i­dent of the Is­lamic Repub­lic, the late Ay­a­tol­lah Ak­bar Hashemi Raf­san­jani vis­ited us in 1996 and im­mensely con­trib­uted to eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion be­tween our two coun­tries, in­clud­ing the es­tab­lish­ment of joint ven­ture part­ner­ships,” he said.

“The Gov­ern­ment and peo­ple of Zim­babwe will cher­ish for years to come the mem­ory of this rev­o­lu­tion­ary and friend of our coun­try. May his soul rest in peace.”

Three days of na­tional mourn­ing were de­clared in Iran and mil­lions of Ira­ni­ans gath­ered at the for­mer pres­i­dent’s fu­neral to bid him farewell.

He was buried at the holy shrine of Imam Khome­ini in south­ern Tehran.

Dur­ing a remembrance cer­e­mony held in Harare, where lead­ers of vary­ing sec­tors joined Ira­ni­ans in mourn­ing the death of Pres­i­dent Raf­san­jani, Chief Kamba of Makoni Dis­trict said Zim­babwe was aware that the Ira­nian Rev­o­lu­tion in­tended to make Ira­ni­ans in charge of their own lives.

“We, there­fore, do re­mem­ber Ay­a­tol­lah Raf­san­jani as a lead­ing fig­ure in that re­gard, bring­ing about the nec­es­sary re­forms that make the Ira­ni­ans a proud, very re­silient peo­ple we have come to know and ap­pre­ci­ate,” he said.

“As peo­ple un­der sanc­tions and look­ing for­ward to the lift­ing of those sanc­tions, we, there­fore, have got some­thing in com­mon be­cause we are also un­der sanc­tions.

“And we are look­ing for­ward to the lift­ing of those sanc­tions to ease the lives of Zim­bab­weans.”

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