The Status of Rafsanjani’s “Expediency Council” Not Clear
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei today issued an edict establishing a “Supreme Board of Arbitration and Adjustment of Relations among the Three Branches of Government.” He also named Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi-Shahroudi as the chairman of the new body. Hashemi-Shahroudi will report directly to Khamenei. [IRNA, 25 July].
Khamenei urged the leaders and senior members of the three branches of the government to resolve their disputes through the newly established body.
In 1988, the Islamic Republic established the Expediency Council under the chairmanship of Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani. The Council is in charge of resolving differences and conflicts between different branches of the government. It was not immediately clear if the new “Supreme Board” would replace the “Expediency Council” or would it act as a parallel body. If the former, today’s edict by the supreme leader would effectively mean that Rafsanjani has been dumped from his last important job, that of the chairmanship of the Expediency Council.
The new Supreme Board will have five members. Its chairman, Ayatollah Shahroudi, is the former head of Iran’s Judiciary and a current member of the Guardian Council. An Iraqi-Iranian, Shahroudi once served as the leader of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the main Shia political party opposing Saddam. Other members of the supreme board are Hojjatoleslam Mohammad Hassan Aboutorabi, Morteza Nabavi, Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei and Samad Mousavi-Khoshdel.