Rafsanjani Dislodged From a Top Job
- Iran’s Assembly of Experts voted March 8 to replace former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani from the chairmanship. What happened and why is the outcome significant?
- Why did hardliners replace Rafsanjani, a pivotal political player since the 1979 Revolution? Had Rafsanjani’s chairmanship changed the Assembly of Experts?
- First, it relays the message that trying to stand in the middle of Iran’s polarized political environment to moderate political cleavages is no longer acceptable—and will lead to sidelining if not a complete purge. Rafsanjani had not taken a clear position on the 2009 unrest. While publicly asserting his loyalty to Khamenei, he nevertheless continued to stand by his call for a more open political system and the need to redress some of the issues that prompted post-election protests.
- Second, hardliners were unable to win with a candidate of their own so they pressured a traditional conservative to head the body—at least temporarily.
- What is the Assembly of Experts? How many members does it have and how are they chosen? How often do they meet?
- Has the Assembly of Experts ever criticized or challenged the supreme leader for anything?
- Selecting the leader
- Dismissing him if he is unable to perform his constitutional duties or it becomes known that he did not possess some of the initial qualifications such as “social and political wisdom, prudence, courage, administrative facilities and adequate capability for leadership.”
- What role does the Assembly of Experts play in Iranian politics today? How does its role compare to what was envisioned in the post-revolutionary constitution?
- What are the political views of the Assembly of Experts’ members in the Islamic Republic?
The Islamists Are Coming
The Islamists Are Coming, edited by Robin Wright, surveys the rise of Islamist groups in the wake of the Arab Spring. Often lumped together, the more than 50 Islamist parties with millions of followers now constitute a whole new spectrum—separate from either militants or secular parties. They will shape the new order in the world’s most volatile region more than any other political bloc. Yet they have diverse goals and different constituencies. Sometimes they are even rivals.
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