London, Asharq Al-Awsat—The 14th meeting of Iran’s Assembly of Experts was convened on Tuesday in Tehran for the first time since the election of President Hassan Rouhani, a longstanding member who attended the session.
The chairman of the Assembly, Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani, congratulated Rouhani on his victory in the June presidential elections. Rouhani himself has been a member of the Assembly of Expert for more than 16 years.
“President Rouhani, as he has already stated, is now the president of all Iranians and must serve the interest of all citizens”, Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani was quoted as saying by Fars news agency.
Mahdavi Kani reminded the president that the “people and clerics expect him to complete the tasks placed on him with competency in a very challenging environment”.
He said that since the endorsement of the Supreme Leader is conditional and can change, the support that the president is now receiving from the Assembly of Experts is also conditional and subject to his ability to ensure all expectations are met.
On the Assembly of Expert’s first day of deliberations, Genera Qassem Suleimani updated the body on the latest military and security developments in Syria. According to Iranian media reports, Suleimani reassured assembly members that the people and government of Syria are in a strong position to confront any internal and external threats to Damascus.
The Assembly of Expert is an 86-strong clerical body elected every 8 years through direct voting, however the candidates are first vetted by Iran’s Guardian Council whose six jurists are appointed directly by the Supreme Leader.
The Assembly of Expert is tasked with appointing Iran’s supreme leader.
The assembly holds two rounds of deliberation twice a year with each round taking up to three days during which members and state officials debate.
All sessions are held behind closed doors with little information revealed by assembly officials. Only official comments made during the inauguration session are reported by state-run news agencies and state broadcasting apparatus.