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Head Of Iran's Top Clerical Body Dies

Report by RFE/RL (photos by Islamic Republic News Agency)

Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani (file photo)

The chairman of one of the most powerful institutions in Iran, the Assembly of Experts, has died.

Iranian media reported on October 21 that Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani, 83, died of heart failure.

He had fallen into a coma in June following a heart attack.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and his top advisor Ali Akbar Velayati visiting Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani at the hospital

President Hassan Rohani announced two days of mourning for Kani, a former acting prime minister and interior minister in the 1980s.

Kani, who was considered a moderate conservative, took on the position of Assembly of Experts chairman in March 2011 after his predecessor, former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, was forced out following a dispute with hard-line clerics.

Body of Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani being moved from the hospital to Imam Sadegh University

The Assembly of Experts is tasked with appointing and dismissing Iran's supreme leader and monitoring his work.

Kani was also the dean of Tehran's Imam Sadegh University, which is seen as a training ground for future leaders.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP

Copyright (c) 2014 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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