Long-standing pillar of the Islamic revolution, Ayatullah Ahmed Jannati was elected head of Majlis-e Khobargan (Assembly of Experts) today. His election has laid to rest all the misleading speculation about who would win this important position.
Tuesday May 24, 2016, 17:57 DST
The election of Ayatullah Ahmed Jannati to head Iran’s Assembly of Experts once again demonstrates how little outsiders know about politics in the Islamic Republic. Garnering 51 out of 86 votes today, the long-time head of the Guardian Council and stalwart of the Islamic revolution, Ayatullah Jannati’s election has again shown that the hardliners-reformists dichotomy is false.
Addressing the assembly whose correct name is Majlis-e Khobargan, after the vote, Ayatullah Jannati reminded all members that they must “accept with heart and tongue” the guardianship of the Vali-e Faqih (Jurist-Consult). A diminutive but powerful figure, Ayatullah Jannati added: “In all of my years of service — this point must be emphasized — we should work under the shadow of the Rahbar-e Muazzam [Imam Seyyed Ali Khamenei] in a way that Allah, the leader and the people are satisfied.”
The runner-up in the vote was Ayatullah Ebrahim Amini, who got 21 votes. Some newspapers in Tehran such as Arman Daily had speculated in their morning edition that Ayatullah Amini was the favorite to win. Again, this speculative report was based on the assumption that the Assembly of Experts is dominated by a particular political trend. This again turned out to be based more on wishful thinking than an accurate reading of the situation.
Ayatullah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, also in the running, came in third with 13 votes.
Speculation about who would be elected to head the Assembly of Experts was based on misreading of last February’s election results. While the vote in Tehran went in one direction, it was not reflective of the thinking of people in the rest of the country. This is a mistake that outsiders and those following a particular trend inside Iran often make.
Ayatullah Jannati’s election to head the Assembly of Experts has once again exposed this fallacy.
In election to other positions, Ayatullah Mohammad Ali Movahedi-Kermani and Shahroudi were chosen as first deputy and second deputy, respectively.
Ayatullah Ghorbanali Dorri-Najafabadi and Ayatullah Ahmad Khatami were elected as secretaries of the board of directors of the assembly.
The Assembly of Experts is elected for a term of seven years and comprises qualified religious scholars. While the assembly does not meet as often as the parliament, it plays a very important role: to choose the Leader of the Islamic Republic.