Iran’s Expediency Council, with expanding powers, has decided to create a subgroup to handle some of its responsibilities.
It is not clear whether the move is politically motivated or simply a bureaucratic decision.
The secretary of the Expediency Council (EDCS) announced on October 21 that the council had approved the regulations and composition of a supreme board for supervising the regime’s general policies.
“The board is going to be convened with 25 members, including the EDCS’s chairman and secretary, the heads of three branches of power, and the rest elected by the EDCS,” Mohsen Rezaei said.
The government news agency IRNA also cited Rezaei, the former chief commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, as saying, “The board has been set up by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s order and will take responsibilities previously looked after by the Expediency Council.”
The EDCS is an administrative assembly appointed by the supreme leader and created upon revision of the constitution in 1988. It was originally set up to resolve differences or conflicts between the parliament and the Guardian Council.
Members of the council are chosen by the supreme leader every five years.
In recent years, Khamenei has granted the EDCS supervisory powers over all branches of the government, giving it a more pivotal role in Iran’s policymaking structure.
Based on recent amendments, the speaker of parliament is dutybound to deliver a copy of all motions and bills to the EDCS and inform its members of legislative developments.
Moreover, the amendments authorize the EDSC to notify the parliament if it finds elements deemed harmful to the regime’s general policies in any motions or bills.
Meanwhile, according to Rezaei, “The performance of the three powers of the ruling system and their possible deviation from the regime’s general policies will be tabled, discussed, and reviewed at the EDCS’s secretariat sessions, and the final resolution will be presented to the new supreme supervisory board.”
If any deviations are found, Rezaei affirmed, “The findings would be reported to the head of the branches of power, demanding they readjust their path and report back to the EDCS.”
The EDCS is currently chaired by Iraqi-born Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, who is in the meantime the first deputy chairman of the Assembly of Experts, a body responsible for supervising the supreme leader’s conduct and performance as well as appointing the new leader.
In 2010, Shahroudi declared himself a source of emulation for Shi’a.
Before focusing on Iranian politics, he was a member of the Iraqi Al-Da’wa party and leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, a political formation established to overthrow Saddam Hussain.