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The New Arab

Iran talks of next potential Supreme Leader

The next Assembly may have to choose 75-year-old Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's successor [Getty]

Date of publication: 16 December, 2015

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Former president Rafsanjani says for the first time a group of Iranian clerics are examining potential candidates to be the next Supreme Leader.

Iran's Assembly of Experts, the senior governmental body responsible for choosing the country's supreme leader, has began the process of discussing "qualified" potential candidates to eventually succeed Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

As the nation gears up to the February 2016 election of those qualified senior clerics who make up the Assembly of Experts - held every eight years - a list of potential supreme leaders is being drawn up by Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former pesident and current Assembly Member.

The list has brought into the open a previously unspoken subject.

"The Assembly of Experts will act when a new leader needs to be appointed," Rafsanjani told the ILNA news agency. "They are preparing for that now and are examining the options.


"They have appointed a group to list the qualified people that will be put to a vote [in the assembly] when an incident happens" he added.

In February, public voters will directly elect members of the Assembly of Experts - from an approved list of clerical candidates - to sit an eight-year term.

While turnout to the Assembly of Experts elections has historically been lower than those of parliamentary elections, the comments by Rafsanjani, who remains influential, may add a new impetus to the campaigns led by both moderate and conservative factions in the Assembly.

The moderate faction led by current President Hassan Rouhani is hoping to gain on its popularity following the nuclear deal and the lifting of sanctions.

In light of Iran's current Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's age, 75, the next elected body may be the one that will choose Iran's next supreme leader.

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