Tue, March 08, 2011 | PressTV | Mehr News Agency | CNN
Iran: Rafsanjani Loses Key Post, Mahdavi Kani New Assembly of Experts Chairman
Former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has been replaced as head of the Assembly of Experts committee constitutionally tasked with appointing and supervising the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution.
According to Iran’s PressTV, Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani declined to once again accept candidacy for the leadership post at the 86-member body. Rafsanjani said he would not accept candidacy for the position if Ayatollah Mohammad Reza Mahdavi Kani would be willing to run for the position and that he would throw his weight behind Kani’s nomination. Rafsanjani withdrew from running in the elections after Mahdavi Kani announced his candidacy.
“I declare now that if Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani is ready to take up the post, I definitely would not stand for the post so that this holy institution won’t suffer harm,” Rafsanjani added.
Ayatollah Mohammad-Reza Mahdavi Kani was elected as the chairman of the Assembly of Experts Tuesday morning with 63 votes in favor in the early hours of the ninth session of the Assembly of Experts. Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani will remain a member of the assembly.
The 86-member Assembly of Experts elects its chairman every two years. The election is usually held in March. Assembly of Experts representatives are elected to eight-year terms in a general election. The current Assembly of Experts is the fourth since the victory of the Islamic Revolution. [Mehr News Agency, Tuesday, March 08, 2011]
Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani commented on the latest developments in the region during the ninth session of the Assembly. He said the world of Islam is going through a very new situation which is indicative of Muslims’ awareness and prudence in their encounters with difficulties and responsibilities, Iran’s government-backed Press TV reported on Tuesday.
“Many people are sick of their rulers’ dependence on foreigners and hegemonic powers’ control over their countries, and many others are discontent with the corruption which is dominating their governments,“ he continued.
Rafsanjani described the recent movements in some regional states as irretrievable and added that the awakening movements and the awareness of the people in Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain and Libya have made the situation irreversible.
Rafsanjani, a veteran politician and powerful cleric, has been one of the government’s most vocal critics, but has toned down verbal attacks and made statements of apparent support of the regime and the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in the past year.
Rafsanjani’s stepping aside will be viewed as a setback for Iran’s “Green” movement and reformists opposition. Hardliners had been recently calling for Rafsanjani to be replaced.
Although Ayatollah Rafsanjani had no official links to Iran’s “Green” opposition movement, he was seen as a key figure in the opposition’s uprising after the disputed presidential elections, won by Ahmadinejad, in 2009. Rafsanjani condemned the regime’s violent crackdown against the “Green” movement led by Mir-Hossein Mousavi and spoke out for the people’s right to peacefully protest.
Rafsanjani served two terms as president from, 1989 to 1997, and lost a bid to regain the presidency in 2005, being defeated by the current president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Rafsanjani’s daughter, Faezeh Hashemi, has been detained twice for taking part in anti-government protests, CNN reported Tuesday.