The Herald (Zimbabwe)

Acting President mourns former Iran leader

- 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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