Iranian Parliament Elects Hard-line Former Tehran Mayor as Speaker
Iran’s parliament elected former Tehran mayor Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf as its new speaker on Thursday in a move seen by observers as shoring up hard-line control of the legislature. Qalibaf served as a pilot in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s. As a general heading the Guard’s air force, he supported a violent crackdown on protesting Iranian students in 1999. And as Iran’s police chief, he reportedly ordered his forces to open fire on protesting students in 2003, and later praised the violent suppression of Iran’s 2009 Green Movement protests. Qalibaf, 58, unsuccessfully ran for president of the Islamic Republic three times, in 2005, 2013 and 2017, and served for 12 years as mayor of the capital, Tehran. “It is time to thank all representatives, all workers at the parliament complex, experts, managers, security forces and services,” Qalibaf said, promising to give a speech Sunday. Qalibaf won overwhelming support in his bid to become speaker of the parliament, receiving 230 of the 264 votes cast, state television reported. Qalibaf replaces Ali Larijani, who served as speaker from 2008. On Thursday, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appointed Larijani as an adviser and a member of the country’s Expediency Council.