Tehran, Iran Citing constitutional concerns, Iran's supreme leader on Saturday indefinitely postponed the swearing-in ceremony of reformist President Mohammad Khatami a day before it was due to take place.
Khatami's term began Thursday, when supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei confirmed him for a second, four-year term. But the postponement of his swearing-in by parliament will delay the appointment of a new Cabinet, which Khatami had been expected to do today.
In a statement carried by state-run media, Khamenei said a row between hard-liners and reformists over membership of the powerful Guardian Council was behind his decision to put off today's ceremony. The statement did not say how long the delay would be.
The reformist-packed Majlis, or parliament, had failed to approve candidates to fill three vacant seats on the 12-member Guardian Council, an unelected body that must approve all bills before they become law. Parliament chose only one of six candidates nominated by Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, the judiciary chief, for the three vacant council seats. Shahroudi later suggested four other candidates, but parliament rejected them all.
The row was the latest sign of an ongoing struggle between reformists and hard-liners, who hold immense power through unelected institutions.