The Comeback Cleric

Eight years after leaving office, Rafsanjani is poised to become Iran's President again. Will he win over the West this time?

For a man who has spent nearly a decade out of the spotlight, Ayatullah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani still knows how to make an entrance. Arriving for an interview with TIME inside a domed marble Tehran palace, Rafsanjani, 70, strides in with the bounce of a man half his age. He's even accompanied by his film crew. It's all part of a slick campaign aimed at selling one of the Islamic republic's old founding fathers as a hip reformer in tune with restless young Iranians, in hopes of returning the former President to the job he left in 1997. As he...

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