By RFE RL
Former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has lost a key position of influence after hard-liners criticized him as being too close to the reformist opposition.
Rafsanjani has been replaced as head of the Assembly of Experts, the state body which selects the supreme leader, supervises his activities, and has the power to dismiss him.
Rafsanjani has held the post for the past four years.
Ayatollah Mohammad Reza Mahdavi Kani, 80, was elected as the new chairman of the Assembly of Experts after Rafsanjani told the body he would not seek the post.
“If [Kani] should be ready and accepts responsibility, I would certainly not nominate myself for the sake of ridding the differences and that this sacred institution would not be damaged from my side,” Rafsanjani said.
Rafsanjani has criticized the crackdown on the opposition after President Mahmud Ahmadinejad’s disputed 2009 reelection.
Kani is a conservative cleric not seen as a supporter of the opposition.