“With the death of Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, one of the two pillars and key to the equilibrium of the religious fascism ruling Iran has collapsed and the regime in its entirety is approaching overthrow,” said Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, in a statement.

“Over the past 38 years, whether under Khomeini or afterwards, Rafsanjani played a critical role in suppression at home and export of terrorism abroad as well as in the quest to acquire nuclear weapons.”

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Tasnim news agency also quoted his relative and aide Hossein Marashi as saying that Hasehmi had died at the hospital in Tehran.

The cleric was one of the architects of the Islamic Revolution that deposed the shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, in 1979 and established a religious state.

He served as president between 1989 and 1997, he was a leading politician who has often played kingmaker in the country’s turbulent politics.