Expediency Council gets new chairman

August 14, 2017 - 15:29

TEHRAN – Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi was appointed on Monday by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to lead the Expediency Council, a powerful body constitutionally charged with finding the middle ground between the Parliament and the oversight Guardian Council.

Prior to the appointment for a five-year term, Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Movahedi-Kermani was taking care of the body for nearly seven months since the passing of Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani who was in charge for nearly two decades.

Hashemi Shahroudi, 69, had served as Judiciary chief for ten years, six years of which coincided with the Khatami administration and four with the Ahmadinejad administration.

Born in the Iraqi city of Najaf, Hashemi Shahroudi has been the head of an arbitration body to resolve sticking points among three branches of the government since 2011. His five-year tenureship was renewed by Ayatollah Khamenei in 2016.

The senior ayatollah is a member of the Guardian Council, a panel of six senior clerics and six jurists, which vets aspiring candidates in all elections.

In February 2016, Hashemi Shahroudi won a provincial vote to represent the northeastern province of Khorasan Razavi in the 88-strong Assembly of Experts that supervises and elects Leader of the revolution.

Currently, he is the first deputy chairman of the assembly. In May, Hashemi Shahroudi was hospitalized for days.

Also, he is the founder of the Combatant Clergy Association. He also played a key role in establishing the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, according to the ayatollah’s official website.

Hashemi Shahroudi is the third chairman of the council after Ayatollah Khamenei and Rafsanjani served the body once and four times each, respectively.

New faces in Expediency Council

The 44-member line-up includes seven new figures, including outgoing Tehran Mayor Mohammad Qalibaf, presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi, Armed Forces Chief of Staff Mohammad Baqeri, and former lawmaker Ahmad Tavakoli. The high-profile secretary of the council, Mohsen Rezaei, was kept in the post.

Ex-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also features in the appointment decree.

The Expediency Council which has the responsibility to iron out differences between the Parliament and the GC was not originally enshrined in the Constitution until before a constitutional reform in 1989.

The body had been established two years before its constitutional inclusion after a verdict by Ayatollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic Revolution.

The reshuffled assembly has a daunting task ahead. Commenting on the appointments, Mostafa Mirsalim, a previous member who appears on the new list, said leading the council won’t be “easy.”

“After the presidency of the late Hashemi Rafsanjani, leading the Expediency Council won’t be an easy task,” he said, a reference to the high bar set by the veteran politician.

“Allocating time to the council is important, and I hope Ayatollah Shahroudi has recovered fully,” added Mirsalim.

A key obligation of the council is to oversee the implementation of general policies of the country outlined by the Leader.

In his decree, Ayatollah Khamenei has commissioned the newly appointed members with streamlining supervision mechanisms to assess and assure an efficient policy implementation and a structurally coherent management system.


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