Moderate appointed to head Iran’s Expediency Council

Al-Monitor- On Aug. 14, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, appointed Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi as the new chairman of the Expediency Council. Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani had headed the council for decades, until his death in January.

The Expediency Council was established in 1988 to resolve differences or conflicts between the parliament and the Guardian Council, which is tasked with assessing and approving parliament bills based on their adherence to Islamic law.

Prior to Khamenei announcing the council’s new leader, rumors had circulated about the possible appointment of the conservative Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Movahedi Kermani, who temporarily chaired council sessions after Rafsanjani’s death, of Ebrahim Raisi, the conservative cleric defeated in the May presidential elections by the moderate incumbent Hassan Rouhani.

The eventual appointee, Hashemi Shahroudi, headed the judiciary from 2001 to 2009 and is a member of the Assembly of Experts, which chooses and supervises the supreme leader. In the Iranian political arena, Hashemi Shahroudi is considered a moderate ayatollah and has views close to those of Rafsanjani, who also served as Iran’s president for two terms (1989-1997) and led the moderate camp.

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