Ayatollah Yazdi Elected to Chair Expert Body

Ayatollah Yazdi Elected to Chair Expert Body
Ayatollah Yazdi Elected to Chair Expert Body

Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi was elected as new chairman of the Assembly of Experts.

In an election held during the clerical body's meeting on Tuesday, Yazdi garnered a majority of 47 out of a total of 73 votes cast and took up the post. The other candidate, Expediency Council Chairman Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, took the rest of the vote, IRNA reported.  

Ayatollah Yazdi, 84, has also been a member of the Guardian Council for four terms.  The council is responsible for vetting legislative and presidential candidates, supervising elections and overseeing the bills passed by the Majlis for conformity with Islamic principles and the Constitution. He had previously served as judiciary chief.    

He replaced the late Ayatollah Mohammad Reza Mahdavi Kani, who went into a heart attack-induced coma on June 4, leading to his passing five months ago at the age of 83.

The voting session was chaired by Deputy Chairman of the Assembly of Experts Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi.

In his speech at the meeting, Shahroudi pointed to the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus German) and said, "We favor dialogue to reach a good agreement," noting, "An agreement that does not represent our interests is not acceptable."

He praised the negotiating team for their efforts, saying the diplomats are in pursuit of national interests "decisively and bravely" and "we support them."

"A two-stage deal should not be accepted," the cleric said, explaining, "Because it will provide the other side with an opportunity to violate the (prospective) agreement."

The major powers have proposed a schedule for the negotiations which envisages the two sides initially reach a general agreement and then work out the details at a later stage.

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has recently voiced opposition to the timeline, saying it would not be in the country's interest as it may be used by the other party to "make further excuses."

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also attended Tuesday's meeting to brief the participants on the latest developments in the nuclear talks.