Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, head of Iran's Judiciary, listens to the opening speech during the Assembly of Experts' biannual meeting in Tehran September 14, 2010..
(photo credit: REUTERS/CAREN FIROUZ)
Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani has been tapped by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to head the “Expediency Council,” a key position for the regime. Larijani is an ally of the leadership and has been targeted by US sanctions.
After Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi died last week, the regime in Tehran moved quickly to fill his role. The Expediency Council is supposed to help examine and deal with differences between the parliament, or Majlis, and the Guardian Council. It is a position that is a key conduit for influence from the supreme leader to the rest of the country and its government.
Larijani, 57, formerly headed the judiciary in Iran. He was sanctioned in January 2018 by the US Treasury Department, which accused him of being responsible for, or complicit in, human rights abuses. “As head of Iran’s judiciary, Sadeq Amoli Larijani has administrative oversight over the carrying out of sentences in contravention of Iran’s international obligation,” the Treasury said. This involved torture and executions, including of juveniles, along with other abuses. Larijani slammed Israel and the US in July, claiming that Iran was “mightier than ever at Israel’s borders,” according to IRNA, Iran’s news agency.
Saudi Arabia’s Al-Arabiya TV news criticized the appointment as yet another “hardline cleric” filling a senior position. Riyadh is one of Iran’s main adversaries in the region. Observers have noted the extraordinary speed with which Larijani was chosen.
Khamenei praised Larijani as hardworking and honest. But why the need to move so fast? Perhaps because the regime wants to make sure there are not gaps in its united front at a time of regional and internal instability. Iran is still facing protests internally.
Larijani is also part of the nepotistic group of powerful families at the center of the regime’s politics. His older brother is Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani. Sadeq Larijani was born in 1961 in Najaf, Iraq, when his parents were in exile there. Two other brothers are prominent in diplomatic and academic circles.
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