Khomeini's Grandson Enters Iran Politics Ahead of Assembly Vote

A grandson of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini will stand for election to the country’s Assembly of Experts, the religious council that will one day choose a successor to Iran’s 76-year-old Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Hassan Khomeini, 43, is one of 79 candidates so far to register their candidacy for the assembly, the semi-official Iranian Students’ News Agency reported on Friday. Registration opened on Thursday, and candidates will begin a vetting process on Dec. 27, ISNA said, citing the Interior Ministry.

The decision ends months of speculation in Iran’s media over Khomeini’s political ambitions ahead of parliamentary elections next year. Considered an ally of President Hassan Rouhani, Khomeini is a political moderate who has openly attacked Iran’s conservative media, and his age and centrist views set him apart from the mainly older and hardline members of the assembly.

The conservative Keyhan newspaper has accused Khomeini’s supporters of wanting to exploit his name to promote a “seditionist” agenda.

The 86-member assembly, which also has the power to depose the Supreme Leader, faces a direct public vote every eight years. Candidate vetting is overseen by the Guardian Council, a judicial-clerical body, half of whose members are directly nominated by the Supreme Leader.