Rafsanjani Loses Post in Key Iranian Institution

Via the BBC:  Iran’s Rafsanjani loses post as chair of state body

Iran’s former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has lost his position as head of a powerful clerical body, reports say.

Mr Rafsanjani had chaired the Assembly of Experts, which selects the supreme leader and supervises his activities, for the past four years.

But he was criticised by hardliners for being close to the opposition.


Mr Rafsanjani had chaired the Assembly – an elected body of clerics which has the theoretical power to dismiss the supreme leader – since 2007.

But he was stripped of his role as a leader of Friday prayers after criticising a crackdown on opposition protests after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed 2009 re-election.

This is significant as the story of Iran’s political conflicts over the last couple of years has been as much about intra-elite conflicts than it has been about protesters v. the state.  Indeed, I have long argued that the intra-elite conflicts are the key area that needs understanding (see my Mobile Press-Register column on the subject for an overview:  Iran’s battle of the insiders).

Rafsanjani has been a key member of the Mousavi faction of the elites (Mousavi was the candidate whose loss to Ahmadinejad in recent presidential elections sparked protests in Iran) and so his removal from the leadership of the Assembly of Experts is significant.  Rafsanjani remains the head of the Expediency Council, another key institution of the Iranian state.

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Ryan says:

    Is Rafsanjani’s ouster from the “Assembly of Experts” ‘significant’ in a positive manner for Iranian freedom or in a negative manner, Dr. Taylor?

    Representative of Iran Student’s Committee