Former president stripped of powers by Iranian hardliners
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)