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Head Of Iran's Top Clerical Body Dies

Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani in a March 2013 file photo

Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani in a March 2013 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.

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.

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