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Tehran Gets Third Mayor In 18 Months

Pirooz Hanachi, former deputy development minister, was elected as Tehran mayor-- 13 Nov 2018
Tehran, Nov 13, 2018 (AFP) -

Tehran city council on Tuesday elected Pirooz Hanachi, a little-known technocrat, to the politically sensitive post of mayor that has in the past led to Iran's presidency, state television reported.

Hanachi is the third mayor of Tehran to be elected by the city council since reformists swept to power in local polls in May 2017.

The 54-year-old Hanachi was a deputy mayor after the reformists took office in August 2017, having previously served as deputy minister at the roads and urban development ministry.

The interior ministry has to confirm his election, a mostly procedural process.

The reformists have promised transparency in running the city following corruption charges against their conservative rivals who controlled the Tehran council for 14 years.

The post of mayor has changed hands three times in 18 months, starting with Mohammad Ali Najafi who resigned officially on medical grounds amid reports he had been threatened with arrest by the prosecutor's office.

His successor, Mohammad Ali Afshani, a retiree, now has to step down by December 6 after parliament passed a law banning retirees from holding official posts.

The post served as a political springboard for conservative hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's president between 2005 and 2013, although fellow incumbent Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf was unsuccessful in his bids for the presidency.

Despite winning the highest number of votes in last year's polls, Mohsen Hashemi Rafsanjani, son of late ex-president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, has repeatedly tried but failed to be elected mayor.