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Iran: 95-Year-Old Cleric, Jannati, Reinstated As Head Of Powerful Guardian Council

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Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, has reappointed Ahmad Jannati, 95, to another six-year term as the head of the Guardian Council. If still alive by then, he will finish his term when he turns 101. According to Khamenei’s decree, issued on Saturday, two other clerics, Mohammad-Reza Modarresi Yazdi and Mehdi Shabzendedar Jahromi were also reinstated in their positions in the Council. The Guardian Council sometimes referred to as the Constitutional Council, is comprised of Islamic sharia law experts tasked with checking legislations approved by Iran’s parliament against the Constitution and sharia law and approving candidates in various elections in Iran.

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The Guardian Council is made up of twelve members, six clerics who are chosen by the supreme leader of the regime, namely Khamenei, along with six jurists who are nominated by the judiciary and elected by the parliament. Therefore, six members are appointed by Khamenei, and the other six are elected by the Judiciary, whose head is also appointed by Khamenei. Doing the math, in reality, it is safe to say that all twelve members of the council are appointed by Khamenei.

According to Abbas Ali Kadkhodai, one of the Council’s Jurists, “Jannati is the oldest jurist in the Guardian Council. I have been working closely with him for more than two decades. There are other jurists and lawyers who have a history of cooperation with Ayatollah Jannati more than I. All the jurists and experts who are in contact with him acknowledge his high political intelligence and his pursuits in political affairs.”

However, ordinary Iranians ridicule the ancient cleric, who stumbles when quoting verses from the Quran, and call him “the cleric that doesn’t die” and a “dinosaur”. Dozens of photoshopped images of Jannati during the ice ages, holding a dinosaur, or sitting behind Napoleon on his horse can be found on the internet.  

More on Jannati

Ahmad Jannati was born in 1926. He was appointed by Khomeini to this council in 1980 and has been a member of the powerful organization for more than four decades. A partial list of his positions in the regime include;

Secretary of the Islamic Propaganda Coordination Council

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Head of the Islamic Propaganda Organization

Temporary Imamate of Qom, Kermanshah, and Tehran

Representation in the Assembly of Experts

Membership in the Expediency Council

Membership in the Constitutional Review Council

Membership in the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution

Membership in the Broadcasting Commission

Membership in the Supreme Council of the World Assembly of Ahl al-Bayt

Representation in the affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Regarding his role in Iran’s revolutionary courts and issuing sentences, he has stated, “We were supposed to become judges, and we were zero kilometers (did not know anything about laws). We had not read about the law. Finally, they told us that there is no choice, you go here, and a court was held here, and these criminals were brought, and we tried them… Many people also did not know what to do. People like me had never been trained… When we were active in the Revolutionary Court, we doubted whether we should execute some people or not; the Imam (regime founder Khomeini) had said that we should not delay the execution of a person whose crime is certain… The only thing that was needed was to identify that the person had not been brought to execution by mistake.”

The Guardian Council, an instrument of corruption and suppression

The Guardian Council’s budget has reached 277 billion tomans for 2022, from about 24 billion tomans in the 2018 budget bill. That is more than ten times in 4 years. It is noteworthy that until 2011, the budget of the Guardian Council had an average growth of three to four percent. Still, from 2011 onwards, this growth became double-digit, and even in 2015, the budget of this institution had a 99% increase. The interesting point is that in 2015 when there were no elections, and the budget of the Guardian Council should have been reduced compared to 2014, it faced a growth of 21%, and this issue was repeated in 2016 and 2017.

One day before Iran’s parliamentary elections in February 2020, the U.S Treasury Department sanctioned Ahmad Jannati, the chairman of the Guardian Council, and four other members of the Council, including Abbas-Ali Kadkhodaei, Siamak Rahpeik, Mohammad Hassan Sadeghi Moghaddam, and Mohammad Yazdi for preventing free and fair elections in Iran. The Treasury had announced that the decision was made in response to the disqualification of thousands of parliamentary candidates in Iran. The statement emphasizes that the Guardian Council, whose members are appointed by the Supreme Leader, disqualifies candidates that do not share the regime’s views and therefore make a fair and free election impossible.

Why 95-year-old Jannati was re-appointed by Khamenei

The re-appointment of 95-year-old Jannati as the Guardian Council’s chief is indicative of the fact that the council is just a show and another instrument of suppression of the people of Iran. Many analysts believe that although Khamenei is aware of Jannati’s age and his dysfunctionality, Iran’s society is so volatile and the state of the economy and social issues so fragile that Khamenei does not dare to make the slightest change to the status quo.

Iran News Wire

Iran News Wire is home to real news on Iran. We are dedicated to honest and reliable reporting. We aim to be the voice of the Iranian people and their protests for freedom and democracy at a time when the Iranian government wants to silence dissent and suppress their voices for democracy

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