Iran's Rafsanjani loses post as chair of state body

TEHRAN, March 8 Tue Mar 8, 2011 2:49am EST

TEHRAN, March 8 (Reuters) - Former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani lost his position on Tuesday as head of an important state clerical body after being criticised by hardliners for being too close to the reformist opposition.

Ayatollah Mohammad Reza Mahdavi Kani was elected as the new chairman of the Assembly of Experts after Rafsanjani withdrew his candidacy, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported.

Rafsanjani had chaired the assembly since 2007.

(Reporting by Hashem Kalantari; Writing by Reza Derakhshi; Editing by Michael Roddy)