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Khamenei's 91 Year Old Ally Re-Elected Chairman Of Influential Body

Iran -- Ahmad Jannati, secretary of Elites Council of Iran, with Ali Khamenei, IRI leader

Ultraconservative Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati has been reelected as the Secretary of the influential Guardian Council of the Constitution (GCC).

The council is an appointed and constitutionally mandated twelve-member body composed of six Islamic “faqih”s (expert Shi’ite jurists) directly appointed by the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic and six conventional jurists elected by majles (parliament) from a list of nominees presented by the head of judiciary.

The influential body is responsible for supervising all national public elections, interpreting the constitution, weighing qualification of nominees for presidency and those who seek a seat in parliament and the Assembly of Experts (AE), as well as ensuring the compatibility of the legislation passed by the parliament with the criteria of Islam and the constitution .

Jannati, 91, has been a member of the council since it was launched in 1980 and has chaired GCC for past 27 years.

Jannati's long tenure and his age have become a target of criticism and jokes by the public.

According to state-run news agency, IRNA, a conventional Muslim jurist, Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei, was also elected for another one-year term as the spokesman and deputy Secretary of the GCC on Wednesday, August 1.

However, IRNA’s report is silent on the number of the votes for or against Jannati and Kadkhodaei or whether they were challenged, or not.

Jannati who has also been a member of the Assembly of Experts since its establishment in 1983, nominated himself May 2016 for another term of membership of the influential body that supervises the performance of the Supreme Leader, currently Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

While AE is the deliberative body empowered to designate and dismiss the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic, all of its directly-elected members after the vetting process by the GCC still have to be approved by the Supreme Leader of Iran before gaining membership to the Assembly of Experts.

Although in May 2016 election, Jannati garnered the least number of votes in Tehran constituency, but he was later elected as the chairman of AE.

In the May 24, 2016 vote, Jannati received the backing of 55 members of the 88-seat Assembly and beat two other candidates for the post of chairman.