Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani

Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani was re-elected as the head of the Assembly of Experts on Tuesday March 5 in a sweeping victory.

Iranian media report that Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani captured 64 out of 70 votes and will remain at the head of the assembly for another two years.

Mahdavi Kani took over the position from Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani in 2010, after the 2009 presidential election put Hashemi and the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei at odds.

At the opening of Tuesday’s meeting, Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani said the current sanctions on Iran have put the country in a situation that is “worse than the time of war” between Iran and Iraq, and he stressed that whoever wins the presidency will face the difficult task of managing the beleaguered national economy.

“We are the target of foreign attacks, and managing and administering the country’s affairs is not an easy task, and whoever becomes the president will undoubtedly face serious problems,” Mahdavi Kani was quoted as saying.

He stressed that only those “who have a concrete plan and a competent team” should take on this task.

The Assembly of Experts has the task of electing and monitoring the actions of the Supreme Leader, but the opposition has accused the assembly of becoming subordinate to the whims of the current Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei.