NEW YORK - Iran, whose supreme leader has suggested scrapping a directly elected presidency, is likely to have at least one more president after current incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a senior Iranian official said on Tuesday.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said last month it would be "no problem" to substitute a parliamentary system for the presidency, in what may have been a warning to Ahmadinejad and possible successors not to overstep their powers.
He said any such change would be "probably in the distant future," but his comment has led some Iranians to think that Ahmadinejad, whose second and final term ends in June 2013, could be the country's last president.
Mohammad Javad Larijani, a foreign affairs adviser to Khamenei, told Reuters in an interview the idea was "still at the level of contemplation" as part of a periodic review of the constitution.
He said the proposal "needs study" and that it could take years before a law was drafted, went to parliament and was put to a referendum. Critics have said the change would weaken Iran's version of democracy and make the Islamic Republic more Islamic than republican.