Former president stripped of powers by Iranian hardliners
Published 09/03/2011 | 05:00
Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the former Iranian president who has led resistance to the regime's crushing of democracy protests, has been stripped of his main power base as hardliners exert a greater stranglehold over the country.
Mr Rafsanjani is one of the last senior opponents of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government. Yesterday he was unseated as head of the Assembly of Experts, a body of clerics that chooses Iran's Supreme Leader.
Mr Rafsanjani clashed with Mr Khamenei after condemning the rigged election that secured a second term for Mr Ahmadinejad in 2009 and the repression of pro-democracy demonstrations.
The assembly signalled no confidence in Mr Rafsanjani by endorsing Ayatollah Mohammad Reza Mahdavi-Kani, a conservative cleric, as its leader. The move appeared to confirm that Mr Rafsanjani (76) is bound for the political wilderness. (© Daily Telegraph, London)