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.
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.
The new Speaker of the parliament of Iran
"Mohammad bagher #Ghalibaf"
— Z.kh 🚩🇮🇷 (@Zkh27) May 27, 2020
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.