Sadegh Amoli Larijani, the head of Iran's judiciary, is taking over as chairman of the powerful Expediency Council. Representational photo: iStock
Photo: iStock

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appointed Sadegh Amoli Larijani, the head of the judiciary, as chairman of the powerful Expediency Council on Sunday, according to his website.

The Expediency Council is a key behind-the-scenes institution that settles disputes between various branches of government.

It was led for many years by one of the Islamic republic’s founding figures, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, until his death in early 2017.

Larijani, 58, was personally sanctioned by the United States in January 2018 for “human rights abuses” and “supporting Iranian weapons programs,” according to the US Treasury.

He was also appointed to the 12-man Guardian Council – a post he previously held – that vets legislation and election candidates, according to a statement on Khamenei’s website.

A new judiciary chief was expected to be named shortly.

Larijani takes over the Expediency and Guardian council posts from Ayatollah Hashemi Shahroudi, who died last week.

He is one of five Larijani brothers, all of whom hold powerful establishment positions, most notably his eldest sibling, Ali Larijani, who is the speaker of parliament.

Without giving details, Khamenei’s statement said “critical changes” were expected within the Expediency Council in the near future.

– with reporting by Agence France-Presse