Hardliners disqualify Khomeini’s grandson in Iran power struggle


Financial Times reports: Hassan Khomeini may be the grandson of the founder of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, but his religious and political credentials were deemed insufficient to qualify him for membership in the Assembly of Experts, the body that will determine Iran’s next supreme leader.

The Guardian Council, a constitutional watchdog that vets candidates standing for the council, disqualified Mr Khomeini despite “testimony by all those senior clerics” that he had reached a sufficiently high level of religious learning to interpret Islamic law or Ijtihad, Mr Khomeini’s son, Ahmad, said on his Instagram page on Tuesday.

“The reason for the disqualification is clear to all,” he added, implying that Mr Khomeini, whose candidacy outraged hardliners, was disqualified because of his alliance with reformists.

Mr Khomeini’s disqualification is a blow to centrist president Hassan Rouhani and comes amid a tense power struggle between moderate forces and hardliners. The implementation of the landmark nuclear agreement last week was seen as a big victory for pro-reform forces. But their conservative opponents are determined to maintain their hold on key institutions and say they will resist “infiltration” by western governments bent on “undermining the regime” through pro-reform forces. [Continue reading…]

IranWire reports: Reformists and moderates enthusiastically embraced Khomeini when he announced his candidacy, an excitement that Khomeini tried to quell in order to comply with electoral guidelines and to satisfy the Guardian Council — half of which are appointed by the Supreme Leader. Aware of the importance of pleasing the regime, Hassan Khomeini’s brother Ali spoke about his brother’s candidacy in a way that would meet the approval of Iran’s hardliners, particularly those on the Council.

Despite these overtures, the Council rejected Khomeini’s bid to join the Assembly of Experts.

Under Iranian law, disqualified Assembly candidates have the right to appeal the Council’s decision. The deadline for this is January 30. Khomeini has not stated whether he will launch an appeal.

Former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, currently the president of the Expediency Council, and Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi, as well as President Hassan Rouhani, were all successful in their bids to run as candidates for the Assembly. [Continue reading…]

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