Iran Guardian council has approved only a few electoral candidates that will select Iran’s next Supreme leader, as four-fifth of the candidates have either been withdrawn or disqualified.
The 12-member clerical council, a body that monitors elections and legislation, has kept a tight hold on the electoral process. During an eight-year term of assembly, it monitors the activities of the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and will choose his successor if he dies or becomes inactive.
Siamak Rahpeik, the council spokesman was cited by the state agency IRNA news on Tuesday saying that the body has approved only 166 out of the 801 electoral candidates for the Assembly of experts.
Among the disqualified candidates was Hassan Khomeini, the grandson of Iran’s first Supreme leader, his son Ahmad said on Instagram. He is seen politically moderate and popular among Iran’s troubled reformists, Reuters reported.
The elections for the 88-member is expected to be held on Feb. 26.
Last week, the Guardian Council disqualified more than 7,000 of the 12,000 parliamentary candidates, including almost all moderate and reformist electoral candidates.
Iran President Hassan Rouhani, who wants moderate candidates to take control of the two assemblies from the hardline group, criticized the exclusion of parliamentary candidates and may also oppose the mass disqualification of Assembly candidates.
Rahpeik said that the excluded Assembly of Experts candidates have until Saturday to appeal the decisions.
However, Khamenei, who is grand leader of the country called for candidates to be strictly screened, and Guardian Chairman Ahmed Jannati assured him the council would "not be affected by any pressure."