Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Rafsanjani loses position as head of Assemblee of Experts
Rafsanjani had chaired the Assembly - an elected body of clerics which has the theoretical power to dismiss the supreme leader - since 2007.
Rafsanjani stepped down after ayatollah Mohammed Reza Mahdavi Kani submitted his candidature. He said that for the sake of keeping the country united, he would not stand against Mahdavi Kani.
Reports say that hardliners and supporters of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have, in recent weeks, been lobbying hard to dislodge Rafsanjani from the post and replace him with Mahdavi Kani, who is not sympathetic to the oppsoition..
Rafsanjani criticised the crackdown on opposition protests after president Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election in 2009 and after that was subject to criticism by the hardliners. Earlier he was stripped of his position of leader of the Friday prayers. Rafsanjani remains the chairman of the Expediency Council, a committee which arbitrates disputes over legislation among state bodies.