By Murat Karadag
Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, a prominent cleric and politician, has been appointed chairman of Iran’s influential Expediency Discernment Council (EDC), Iran’s official IRNA news agency reported Monday.
Shahroudi replaces Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who served as president of Iran for two terms (from 1989 to 1997), as EDC chairman.
Since Rafsanjani passed away in January, Ali Muvahhidi Kirmani has served as the council’s acting chairman.
Born in 1948 in Iraq’s Karbala province, Shahroudi served as middleman between Iranian Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini (1902-1989) and Iraqi Shias after coming to Iran, where he served as an EDC member from 1999 to 2009.
The EDC was established by Khomeini in 1988 to mediate differences between Iran’s influential Islamic Consultative Assembly (Majlis) and Council of Guardians.
The EDC’s chairman is directly appointed every five years by the country’s supreme leader.
*Ali Murat Alhas contributed to this report from Ankara