Rafsanjani, (Ali Akbar) Hashemi

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Rafsanjani, (Ali Akbar) Hashemi (1934– ) Iranian statesman and cleric, president of Iran (1989–97). After Ayatollah Khomeini's triumphant return in 1979, Rafsanjani became speaker of the Iranian parliament. A leading figure in the new theocracy, he was acting commander of the armed forces in the final stages of the Iran-Iraq War. Following Khomeini's death in 1989, Rafsanjani became president. His presidency witnessed a slight easing of tension in relations with the West.