Top Powerbroker Secures Third Term to Lead Iran’s Parliament

  • Ali Larijani backed Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers
  • Seen as supporting Rouhani’s plans to seek foreign investment

Ali Larijani, an influential lawmaker who backed Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers, won a third term to lead the Islamic Republic’s parliament, putting him in a key position likely to help President Hassan Rouhani’s investment drive.

Larijani, a conservative pragmatist who helped to shepherd Rouhani’s flagship nuclear policy through an often hostile legislature, won 173 out of 281 votes cast, the semi-official Islamic Students’ News Agency reported. His only opponent, reformist Mohammad Reza Aref, received 103.

Ali Larijani

Photographer: Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Larijani’s re-election will be seen as a boon for Rouhani’s plans to boost Iran’s economic growth through billions of dollars in foreign investment and shore up support as he seeks a second term next year, said Ali Vaez, senior Iran analyst at the International Crisis Group.

“He has a good working relationship with the president and was tremendously supportive of the nuclear agreement. He stands a better chance of helping the government create consensus among different factions and lobbies,” Vaez said.

The current parliament, inaugurated on Saturday, is the most moderate Larijani has presided over since he was first elected speaker in 2008. A coalition of pro-Rouhani reformists and pragmatists helped to unseat a number of hardliners critical of the nuclear deal in the Feb. 26 election.

The 58-year-old Larijani was born into a prominent religious family from northern Iran and has held key positions in government and in the security establishment since the early days of the Islamic Republic, including lead nuclear negotiator between 2005 and 2007. His younger brother, hardline cleric Sadegh Amoli Larijani, heads Iran’s powerful judiciary.