Iranian leader Rafsanjani loses vital position

Rafsanjani is a bitter enemy of hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and tacitly supported his rival, Mir Hossein Mousavi, in Iran’s bitter dispute over the 2009 presidential elections.

Hardliners and supporters of Ahmadinejad had lobbied hard in recent weeks to push Rafsanjani out of the post and supported Ayatollah Mohammad Reza Mahdavi Kani to replace him as the head of the Assembly of Experts.

Kani is a moderate conservative not seen as a supporter of the opposition.

The Experts Assembly monitors the all-powerful supreme leader and picks a successor after his death. That makes it potentially one of the most powerful institutions in Iran, although it does not involve itself the daily affairs of state.

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