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‘Death to Russia!’ shout mourners at Rafsanjani’s funeral

Thousands of Iranian people attend the funeral ceremony held for the former President of Iran Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani [Mustafa Melih Ahıshalı/Anadolu]
Thousands of Iranian people attend the funeral ceremony held for the former President of Iran Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani [Mustafa Melih Ahıshalı/Anadolu]

Iranians, who took part in the funeral procession of former Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani in Tehran yesterday, chanted “Death to Russia” and accused its embassy of being an espionage hub, Arabi 21 reported.

The funeral procession was broadcast live by Iranian state television. However, when the Iranian mourners began to use a variation of the popular Iranian refrain of “Death to America” but this time aimed at the Russians, the broadcast was suddenly halted.

Further reports indicate that the Iranians who were wishing death on Russia were also calling on the Tehran theocratic regime to release the leaders of the reformist Green Movement, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi.

Both Mousavi and Karroubi are veteran Iranian politicians who, in 2009, led popular protests against then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The protests were crushed, and thousands were imprisoned or placed under house arrest, including Mousavi and Karroubi.

Following Iranian television cancelling the broadcast, it later resumed it but without airing any sounds live from the funeral procession. Instead, they added melancholic music rather than broadcast the anti-Russian chanting.

Reformist activists also stated that the Iranian authorities had prevented another former Iranian president, Mohammad Khatami, from taking part in the funeral due to tensions across the country.

Meanwhile, a clip went viral on YouTube showing Rafsanjani’s son shoving one of Iran’s media chiefs away from his father’s coffin, denying him the chance to be a pallbearer. The media official was a man loyal to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, stirring controversy.

There is a lot of discontent amongst Iranians who see their country’s alliance with Moscow as having brought them more problems than it solved.

Last year, controversy was stirred when it emerged that the Iranian regime had secretly allowed the Russians to use Hamadan airbase to launch airstrikes. Russia, a former imperial power in Iran, was seen as attempting to reassert its authority over its former colony, causing embarrassment for the Tehran regime.

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