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Newly Elected Tehran Mayor Still Waiting For Security Clearance

Pirooz Hanachi, former deputy of the minister of Road and Urban, who is elected as Tehran mayor, undated.

While the fate of the newly elected pro-reform Mayor of Tehran is still in limbo, Majles (Iranian parliament) has stepped in to follow up his case.

Tehran city council on Tuesday, November 13, narrowly elected Pirooz Hanachi, a little-known technocrat, to the politically sensitive post of mayor. But the interior ministry has still not cleared him for the post. Apparently, the ministry is in turn waiting for the approval of the intelligence ministry.

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.

Reportedly, Hanachi's brother is a member of an exiled dissident anti-Islamic Republic group based in Paris and Tirana, Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MeK). This might be delaying his approval or security clearance as someone loyal to the Islamic Republic.

Despite a ten-day deadline, the Ministry of Interior has not yet approved Hanachi as the new mayor of Tehran. It has sent a "top-secret" letter to Tehran City Council. Its content has not been disclosed.

The spokesman of the city council, Ali E'ta confirmed receiving the top-secret letter on Monday, adding that Hanachi, as the elected mayor of Tehran, will serve as the caretaker of the city hall until the Interior Ministry openly approves or dismisses his credential.

In the meantime, the chairman of majlis Councils and Internal Affairs Commission, Mohammad Javad Kolivand said on Monday that the parliament is following up the case of the newly elected Tehran Mayor.

Speaking to the state-run Iran Students News Agency (ISNA), Kolivand insisted that he will personally follow up the case through official correspondence with the ministries of Interior and Intelligence.

Hoping that the fate of the new Mayor will be decided soon, Kolivand has suggested that, if it did not happen in a "short period of time", the council should immediately hold a session and elect a new mayor.

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.

The newly elected mayor, 54-year-old Hanachi was a deputy mayor after the reformists took office in August 2017, having previously served as senior deputy minister at the Roads and Urban Development ministry.