By Arash Karami, for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iran Business News.
Why this election of Iran’s Assembly of Experts is more important than ever
The elections for Iran’s Assembly of Experts will coincide with the Feb. 26 parliamentary elections. Considering the age of the current supreme leader, this contest may determine the fate of the country for the foreseeable future.
The 88 members of the Assembly of Experts are constitutionally tasked with choosing the next supreme leader after 76-year-old Ayatollah Ali Khamenei dies or becomes unable to perform his duties.
Despite a prostate surgery in September 2014, Khamenei appears to be healthy and energetic for his age. He continues to attend numerous functions throughout the country, giving long speeches with minimal notes.
The assembly members serve eight-year terms. Therefore, there is a chance the next Assembly of Experts will be asked for the second time in the body’s three decades of existence to choose the next and third supreme leader of Iran.
One list for the Assembly of Experts has been put together under the name of Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani with the slogan “People’s Experts.” Though Rafsanjani said he does not have an official electoral list, he was asked to head this 16-person list that includes a number of like-minded allies, such as President Hassan Rouhani, former Intelligence Minister Ghorbanali Dorri-Najafabadi and Rouhani’s Intelligence Minister Seyed Mahmoud Alavi.
Many observers are paying particular attention to the contentious disqualification of Hassan Khomeini, the grandson of the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran.