Rafsanjani May Seek Clerical Body Chairmanship

Rafsanjani May Seek Clerical Body Chairmanship
Rafsanjani May Seek Clerical Body Chairmanship

A close source to Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has denied reports that the veteran politician and cleric has no intention of standing as candidate for the chairmanship of the Assembly of Experts.

The unnamed official said, "Ayatollah Hashemi has not only not mentioned anything in this regard, but also in response to a relevant question he has said if some persons who I deem as incompetent intend to stand as candidate, I will announce my candidacy," IRNA reported.  

The influential Assembly of Experts elects and oversees the activities of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution.

Conservative cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, who is a member of the Assembly of Experts and its board of directors, told journalists on Monday, "From what I have heard in some meetings, Mr. Rafsanjani has said he has no desire for the chairmanship,” the Fars news agency reported.

Rafsanjani held the position of chairman of the Assembly for four years from 2007 to 2011 until the late Ayatollah Mohammad Reza Mahdavi Kani succeeded him. He died in hospital last week at the age of 83 after being in a coma for months.

The senior cleric fell into a coma in June and since then his deputy Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi has served as acting chairman.

Ahmad Khatami had also referred to Ayatollah Shahroudi as a likely candidate to take over the Assembly of Experts.    

The 66-year-old cleric was the former head of the judiciary, serving from 1999 to 2009.

The chairman for the clerical body will be elected the next time the assembly meets, which according to Ahmad Khatami will be in Iranian calendar month of Esfand (February 20 to March 20, 2015).