On Thursday, May 18, the Islamic Republic News Agency, IRNA, quoted “a well-informed source” saying that Ali Akbar Nategh Noori has resigned from his post as head of Supreme Leader Ali Khamanei's office of inspections. The source added that Mr. Nategh Noori made this decision a while ago, when he announced his support for the incumbent, president Hassan Rouhani.
Reports, circulated a day earlier by social media accounts close to Ebrahim Raeisi, the conservative candidate in Iran’s presidential race, spoke of Nategh Noori having been ousted from his post. However the source quoted by IRNA called these reports "lies".
He had been head of the office of inspections since the early 1990s.
Nategh Noori is one of the few prominent conservatives who has publicly endorsed Hassan Rouhani for a second term.
Nategh Noori is a cleric who was active during the Iranian revolution and close to ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic. He later became an influential member of the political elite. He was speaker of parliament for two consecutive terms in the 1990's. In 1997, he lost the presidential race to Mohammad Khatami.
“Mr. Nategh Noori, out of a sense of duty decided to support Mr. Rouhani”, the source told IRNA, and in order to prevent any “misrepresentations” jeopardizing the “non-factional” nature of institutions linked with the Supreme Leader, decided to resign from his post.
The resignation, however, comes at a time, when in recent days, Mr. Rouhani has repeatedly criticized institutions under the authority of the Supreme Leader. Mr. Rouhani has attacked the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), the Judiciary and the state radio and television and accused them of interfering in the elections.
Some of these institutions, including IRGC have denied these accusations.
There were also reports during the 2009 presidential elections that Mr. Nategh Noori was supporting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s main challenger, Mir Hossein Moussavi, who has been under house arrest for more than six years.