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Archive for Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Former president to head clerical body

September 5, 2007

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— Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former president and longtime Machiavellian figure in Iranian politics, was picked Tuesday to head a powerful clerical body - another defeat for the current president's hard-line faction.

Rafsanjani's election as chairman of the Assembly of Experts means the charismatic cleric will oversee the secretive body that chooses or dismisses the Islamic Republic's ultimate authority, its supreme leader.

The election focuses new attention on Rafsanjani, a complex figure who at various times has been viewed more as hard-liner and at other times as a pragmatist. It also is sure to strengthen his image, tarnished by his loss to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the 2005 presidential runoff when he was viewed as arrogant and out of touch with the lives of ordinary Iranians.

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