Why Iran’s Watchdogs Hold no Fear for Supreme Leader
Tehran – Iran’s Assembly of Experts – ostensibly one of the most powerful institutions in the Islamic Republic – is holding its biannual session in Tehran.
The body has the authority to appoint and remove the country’s Supreme Leader – a prospect which would naturally lead one to expect to see the Supreme Leader defending his policies before assembly members as they assess his performance on every state-related issue that he is responsible for – which is just about everything.
In reality, the functions and membership of the assembly are largely irrelevant to Iranian politics and the members are far from being vigilant, critical monitors of the Supreme Leader. There are 86 clerics in the assembly, most of them very old.
Twice a year, they take a few days off from other activities to convene as the top body. Some of them are the Supreme Leader’s provincial representatives (appointees), some are only seminarians and some hold governmental positions. The opening ceremony and the public speeches are always lead stories in the state-run media. However, the purpose of holding these sessions, other than making an appearance, is not clear. (BBC)