Ahmadinejad retains high position in Iranian government
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad adresses his weekly Friday prayer sermon at Tehran University (AFP/ATTA KENARE)
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Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was given a post-presidency seat in the country’s top political arbitration body on Monday.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei praised Ahmadinejad's "worthy efforts" as president upon announcing the appointment.
"Considering the profuse experience you gained during eight years of worthy efforts, I appoint you as a member of the Expediency Council," read a statement posted on Khamenei's website.
The council is dominated by conservatives and acts as an advisory body for Khamenei, who has final say on all key policies, including nuclear talks and foreign policy.
But an avid critic of the outgoing president, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, heads the council. Ex-president Rafsanjani had repeatedly criticized Ahmadinejad during his turbulent eight-year presidency for his controversial political and economic policies.
Ahmadinejad vacated office on Saturday after two turbulent four-year terms, leaving Iran divided domestically, isolated internationally and struggling economically.
He was succeeded by moderate cleric Hassan Rowhani, who has promised to engage constructively with world powers over Iran's nuclear drive and to bolster the ailing economy.