DUBAI (Reuters) - A grandson of Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini registered on Friday for February’s election of the Assembly of Experts, the clerical body that chooses the supreme leader, state broadcaster IRIB reported.
Hassan Khomeini, 43, a politically moderate cleric, will be the first member of the family of Iran’s revolutionary founder to test his popularity at the ballot box.
In a conditional endorsement of the move, incumbent Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Khomeini last week he should be careful not to bring his grandfather’s name into disrepute, a source close to Khomeini said.
Hardliners close to Khamenei have voiced concerns about Hassan Khomeini’s candidacy, warning of the risk of a reformist alliance emerging at the top of Iran’s political establishment.
Khomeini is close to centrist President Hassan Rouhani, whose popularity has risen since his government struck a deal on Iran’s nuclear program with world powers in July.
Rouhani is hoping to cash in on that support to help like-minded politicians win a majority in the assembly and in a parliamentary election that will be held on the same day.
Khamenei is 76, so the new assembly is expected to play a significant role in choosing his successor since its members are only elected every eight years.
Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin; Editing by Yara Bayoumy and John Stonestreet
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