Assembly of Experts

The Assembly of Experts is constitutionally empowered to select and—nominally—supervise Iran’s supreme leader. The Iranian people elect members—88 Islamic jurists—to the Assembly of Experts every eight years, and it has a leadership board and six subcommittees. Article 111 of Iran’s constitution stipulates that “whenever the Leader becomes incapable of fulfilling his constitutional duties, or [loses] one of the qualifications mentioned in Articles 5 and 109, or it becomes known that he did not possess some of the qualifications initially, he will be dismissed.” To date, the Assembly of Experts has only presided over one leadership transition process—in 1989 when Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founding supreme leader, passed away. That process elevated a cleric, Ali Khamenei, with inferior religious credentials—he was only a hojatoleslam as opposed to the higher rank of ayatollah at the time of his succession. The current Assembly of Experts is chaired by the nonagenarian Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati; its deputy chairmen are Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Movahedi Kermani and Ebrahim Raisi, Iran’s president; and one of its secretaries for the presidium is the firebrand cleric Ahmad Khatami, who is also a member of the Guardian Council.

Chairmen of the Assembly of Experts:

  • Ali Meshkini
    1983-2007
  • Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani
    2007-2011
  • Mohammad-Reza Mahdavi Kani
    2011-2014
  • Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
    2014-2015
  • Mohammad Yazdi
    2015-2016
  • Ahmad Jannati
    2016-present