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Hard-liners rage against Rafsanjani as elections near

Ayatollah Rafsanjani's announcement that he intends to run in the upcoming Assembly of Experts elections prompts hard-liners to launch a wave of attacks.
Iran's former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani delivers his speech during Friday prayers in Tehran April 24, 2009. Rafsanjani urged the United States on Friday to stop threatening Iran with more sanctions if it wanted to hold talks with the Islamic state over its disputed nuclear work.  REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl (IRAN RELIGION POLITICS) - RTXEBPS

TEHRAN, Iran — Since his Aug. 3 announcement that he intends to run in the upcoming Assembly of Experts elections, Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani is once again dominating headlines in Iran. Predictably, the two-time president and current Expediency Council chairman’s move has prompted a backlash from hard-liners. While most players in Tehran expected Rafsanjani to run, few anticipated that he would make his decision public this early. The Assembly of Experts elections aren’t slated to be held until February.

The Assembly of Experts is in charge of supervising the performance of the Supreme Leader and also to elect his successor. Members of this clerical body are elected from lists of candidates by direct public vote for eight-year terms.

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