Mar. 2, 2016
- Iran’s Impotent Assembly of Experts – Michael Rubin
When Iranians went to the polls on Feb. 26, they cast their ballots for parliament and the Assembly of Experts, the 86-member clerical body which picks the new Supreme Leader. So isn’t the ouster of some conservative figures and the triumph of a few reformers significant? The answer is no.
The Assembly of Experts has met only once in its history, back in 1989, to choose a new supreme leader after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s death. Even then, it served as little more than a rubber stamp body because leading Islamic Republic officials had already consulted informally and settled upon Khamenei as a compromise candidate. The same thing will likely occur again – the Assembly of Experts rubber-stamping a pre-ordained decision.
The Iran deal has disproportionately empowered the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) by allowing it to receive the bulk of unfrozen assets. This means that the IRGC will go into the next leadership shuffle with the strongest hand at the table and can effectively veto anyone who doesn’t reflect its values. The chance for substantive policy change with the next supreme leader just diminished significantly. The writer is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. (Commentary)