New parliament convenes in Tehran days after deadly helicopter crash

A new parliament convened in Iran’s capital Tehran for the first time on Monday, days after a deadly helicopter crash which killed the country’s president and foreign minister.

Local media reported that lawmakers in the Islamic Consultative Assembly opened the first session of the legislative period with a recitation from the Koran.

A new parliamentary speaker is set to be elected in the coming days.

Incumbent Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, is running for re-election against religious hardliner Mojtaba Zonnour and former foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki.

Elections in Iran are widely seen as neither free nor fair, as the country’s Guardian Council, a supervisory body of Islamic clerics and lawyers, must approve all candidates before they can run.

Hardliners won this year’s parliamentary elections, which were held over two rounds in March and May amid a historically low turnout of around 40 per cent.

Many Iranian citizens have become disillusioned in the face of political repression, an economic crisis and failed attempts to reform the country’s political system.

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A wave of protests in September 2022 following the death of a young Kurdish woman, Masha Amini, was violently suppressed by authorities.

Political power in Iran is concentrated in the hands of the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iran’s president Ebrahim Raisi and foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian died in a helicopter crash near the border to Azerbaijan more than a week ago.

According to media reports, more than three million people attended Raisi’s funeral in the north-eastern city of Mashhad on Thursday after days of national mourning.  (dpa/NAN)

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