Thursday, July 15, 2004

Iran reappoints Jannati to head Guardian Council

Daily Times - Site Edition: "Iran reappoints Jannati to head Guardian Council

TEHRAN: Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has reappointed a senior hardline cleric to head a powerful constitutional watchdog seen by moderates as one of the key obstacles to reform in the Islamic state.
Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, who has been a member of the 12-strong Guardian Council since its creation in 1979, was granted another five-year-term after his current period expired, the council said on its Web site on Thursday. As secretary of the veto-wielding body, Jannati is one of the most powerful officials in Iran.
The watchdog, comprised of six clerics and six Islamic jurists, has the power to block legislation it deems un-Islamic or unconstitutional and can also bar candidates it considers unfit from standing in parliamentary or presidential elections.
Analysts said Jannati's reappointment was of little surprise since Khamenei has tended to keep faith with most of the key officials he has the power to appoint. But one conservative commentator said Khamenei was aware that public opinion of the council was low due to its role in blocking reformist legislation and candidates in recent years. "Perhaps Khamenei will try to modify the Guardian Council's behaviour," said Amir Mohebian, editor of the conservative Resalat newspaper."

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