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'Hard-line' former mayor elected as Iran's new Speaker of Parliament

Iran’s new Speaker of Parliament Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, 28 May 2020 [Twitter]
Iran’s new Speaker of Parliament Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, 28 May 2020 [Twitter]

Iran's parliament reconvened yesterday following six weeks of coronavirus lockdown with 268 new members being sworn in. The inaugural session also saw a former Mayor of Tehran and one-time electoral rival of President Hassan Rouhani being appointed as the Speaker of Parliament.

Described as a "hardliner", Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf was voted in by 230 of the 264 lawmakers. He is a veteran of the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988) and served as an air force commander for the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). He was a close associate of the late Quds Force commander, Major General Qassem Soleimani.

Amir-Hossein Qazizadeh Hashemi and Ali Nikzad, also conservatives, were elected as the first and second vice-Speakers of Parliament respectively.

READ: Iran parliament convenes amid coronavirus pandemic

Qalibaf's predecessor, Ali Larijani, was appointed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as an adviser and member of the Expediency Council, a body established to resolve disputes between parliament and the Guardian Council.

It has been reported that during his 12-year tenure as Tehran's Mayor, Qalibaf improved the city's subway lines and encouraged the construction of many modern high-rises. However, opponents accused him of wasting public funds on unnecessary projects while not paying attention to social and cultural aspects of the city.

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