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Iranian Parliament Chooses New Speaker

29 May 2004 -- Iran's new parliament today chose Gholam Ali Haddad-Adel to be its speaker.

He will be the first non-cleric to hold the post in the 25-year history of the Islamic Republic.

Adel, who holds degrees in philosophy and physics, is widely regarded as a technocrat with conservative views. He is an in-law of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Adel's party, the Builders of an Islamic Iran, ran in parliamentary elections earlier this year on a platform of respect for Islam mixed with pragmatism toward the country's economic problems.

Large numbers of reformists were disqualified by a hard-line screening body from participating in the February parliamentary poll. The election returned control of the previously reformist-led legislature to the conservatives.