Iran Focus: Tehran, Iran, Dec. 17 – The government-run news agency Fars announced on Saturday the names of eight senior clerics who are believed to have won seats in the Assembly of Experts elections held on Friday. Iran Focus
Tehran, Iran, Dec. 17 – The government-run news agency Fars announced on Saturday the names of eight senior clerics who are believed to have won seats in the Assembly of Experts elections held on Friday.
The report, based on preliminary figures of ballots counted from 2,500 polling boxes in Tehran until Saturday afternoon, placed former President and current Chairman of the State Expediency Council (SEC) Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani in first place for Tehran.
In second place was Tehran Friday prayers leader Ayatollah Mohammad Emami-Kashani. Third was current Chairman of the Assembly of Experts Ayatollah Ali Meshkini.
In fourth place was the powerful Ayatollah Mohammad-Taqi Mesbah-Yazdi. Mesbah-Yazdi, who is believed to have the backing of Irans Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has been a long-time mentor of hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Fifth came the ultra-conservative Chairman of the Guardians Council Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati.
Radical Shiite cleric Mohammad Yazdi – not to be confused with Mesbah-Yazdi – came in at sixth place, according to the preliminary figures.
In seventh place was former nuclear negotiator Hassan Rowhani and eighth came the former chief of the dreaded Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) Qorban-Ali Dori Najaf-Abadi.
Final results are not expected until late on Sunday or early Monday, according to state media.
The 86-member Assembly of Experts is an exclusively clerical body entrusted with the task of selecting the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution.
Following strict vetting of candidates by the Guardians Council, some districts were left with only one candidate.
Far from being a popularity contest, analysts have described the poll as a manifestation of factional feuding.
Reliable sources have told Iran Focus that voter turnout across much of the country was low, barring several voting stations in the Iranian capital which had been designated for foreign media to monitor.
Reports posted on Iranian weblogs as well as opposition sources claim that there was widespread rigging at the polls.
Assembly members are elected to eight-year terms. Polling was last conducted in 1998. This year the elections coincided with the countrys municipal elections.