Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, the head of Iran’s Expediency Council, has announced that he is prepared to declare his candidacy for the top seat in the Assembly of Experts.

The moderate cleric’s statement, which was reported on Wednesday October 29 by the Shargh daily, comes after hardliner Ahmad Khatami said Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani will not run for the leadership of the Assembly of Experts.

Hashemi Rafsanjani was quoted as saying: “If I find unqualified individuals are being nominated for this seat, I will nominate myself.”

The Assembly of Experts is the body charged with overseeing the actions of the Supreme Leader. Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani headed the body until 2009, when the moderate cleric was turned away by Ayatollah Khamenei for siding with the challengers of the presidential election result that saw Mahmoud Ahmadinejad re-elected.

The Assembly of Experts was then put in the hands of Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani, who recently passed away.

Ayatollah Hashemi Shahroudi, a former head of the judiciary, has also been suggested as a possible candidate for the head of the Assembly of Experts.