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Two Key Leadership Changes In Iran

Just as Iranian President Ahmadinejad declared that God and mathematics convinced him that Iran would not face American attack, two key leadership changes in Iran have been announced. It was announced on Tuesday that former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani has been elected as the new head of the Assembly of Experts, the Iranian body which appoints and can ultimately remove the Supreme Leader, currently Ayatollah Khameini. Rafsanjani is an opponent of Ahmadinejad and his election to head the Council is seen as a blow to the Iranian president and his allies, though Rafsanjani should not be characterized as a 'moderate.'

Last week, in an unexpected move, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was relieved of duties and a replacement named. General Yahya Rahim Safavi was removed as the IRGC's commander following the announcement that the US may place the IRGC on a terrorism list. His replacement, 50-year old General Mohammad Ali Jafari, was nearly captured by American forces earlier this year while operating in Iraq. In addition to managing Iran's sponsorship of international terrorist groups through its Quds Force, the elite IRGC also maintains military oversight of Iran's nuclear program, which Tehran nevertheless maintains is for 'peaceful purposes.'

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