Rafsanjani was elected president the same year.
Rafsanjani was also a key figure during the eight years of Iraq's imposed war on Iran (1980-88), serving as substitute to commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
Iranian media said he was hospitalized north of Tehran earlier Sunday, where doctors performed CPR in vain for almost an hour and a half before declaring him dead. "Many Iranians saw Rafsanjani as a mentor to Rouhani, and his influence rose".
A seasoned politician, he headed the Expediency Council, a body which is meant to resolve disputes between the parliament and a hardline watchdog body, the Guardian Council.
Rafsanjani served as president from 1989 to 1997, during a period of significant changes in Iran.
Mr. Rafsanjani's economic policies won praise from Iran's elite and merchant classes but brought bitterness from struggling workers seeking greater state support.
He studied theology in the holy city of Qom before entering politics in 1963 after the shah's police arrested the founder of the Islamic republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
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Rafsanjani was also accused of ordering while president the killings of prominent dissidents overseas, including the assassination in 1992 of four Iranian Kurdish dissidents in a Berlin restaurant called Mykonos.
"He is still a powerful figure in Iranian politics as he heads one of the regime's most powerful bodies - the Expediency Council, which adjudicates disputes over legislation", the report stated. Rafsanjani then redeemed himself in the eyes of many Iranians with his subsequent and prominent criticism of President Ahmadinejad, particularly following the disputed 2009 presidential election - at which point Rafsanjani supported the country's Green Movement reformists, who suffered a brutal crackdown following mass protests against the election results.
Rafsanjani and his family fell out of political favor after that.
Rafsanjani was never seen again giving the Friday prayer sermon, the highest spiritual event of the week since the revolution.
Rafsanjani also was one of the main voices in Iran calling for an outreach to the West and the United States. He became president in a critical time of transition just after the death of Khomeini. He was believed to be one of the richest men in the country and was placed by Forbes on its list of "Millionaire Mullahs".
Mr Rouhani's victory was also another example of Mr Rafsanjani's remarkable political luck.
I pray from deep in my heart for Divine blessings, mercy and forgiveness for him and express my condolences to his esteemed wife, his children and brothers and other relatives.