Iran: Former president to head clerical body for supervision on supreme leader
Former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani was picked Tuesday to preside over a key clerical body empowered with choosing or dismissing the country's supreme leader, state media reported.
Rafsanjani, 73, won the assembly's chairmanship by 41 votes out of the total 76, while his rival, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, secured 34. Rafsanjani is replacing the assembly's former chairman the late Ayatollah Ali Meshkini who passed away on July 30 at the age of 86 due to pulmonic disease.
The voting was held Tuesday morning during the second official gathering of the assembly's 86 members, who were elected through nationwide elections on December 15, 2006. The assembly members were elected for nine years.
The Assembly of Experts is an influential body in charge of appointing the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution and monitoring his performance. According to the AP, analysts said Rafsanjani's election could pose a challenge to the current Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who has final say on matters of state.
Analyst Saeed Leilaz noted that Rafsanjani has spoken lately of greater Assembly supervision over Khamenei. "The outside world must know that Rafsanjani's election today is an important development in Iran," he said.