TEHRAN – Iran’s former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a dominant figure in the country’s politics since the 1980s, has died at the age of 82, media say.

Rafsanjani, who was considered the country’s second-most powerful political figure for much of the Islamic Republic’s history, died in a hospital in north Tehran on Sunday, according to the local news agencies.

Rafsanjani, a founding member of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, was a close confidante of the current supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for much of the 1980s and 1990s, but his political allegiances recently shifted towards reformists, especially after a rift grew between him and Khamenei over the 2009 disputed presidential elections.

Mr Rafsanjani’s current role was as head of the Expediency Council, which tries to resolve disputes between the parliament and the Guardian Council.