Iran Unveils Candidates for December 15 Vote

A009056810.jpgTEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Iran has unveiled the final list of election candidates authorized to run for the body that chooses and supervises the Islamic republic’s supreme leader.

Electoral watchdog body, the Guardians Council, approved 163 candidates to run for the Assembly of Experts elections on December 15.

The 86-member Assembly of Experts, which is only elected once every eight years, has the power to appoint and even oust the supreme leader, whose work it supervises.

An unspecified number of candidates had to take an exam to ascertain whether they were sufficiently qualified in Islamic jurisprudence to be termed ‘Mojtahed’ and thus qualify to serve in the Assembly of Experts.

Among those who refused to sit the test were leading reformist clerics Majid Ansari, who is an incumbent member of the Assembly, and Hadi Khamenei, brother of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Candidates are to start campaigning on November 30 for the election, which has been billed as a struggle between moderates and conservatives.

The moderate camp is being led by former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, while the figurehead for the conservatives is the hard line cleric Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi.

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