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Iran's Supreme Leader Names Mediator In Power Struggle

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei (second from left) and President Mahmud Ahmadinejad (second from right) at a religious ceremony in May.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is said to have appointed a mediator to resolve disputes within the government -- including the ongoing dispute between President Mahmud Ahmadinejad and the parliament, which has also challenged the supreme leader's authority.

Khamenei named his ally and former judiciary chief Ayatollah Mahmud Shahrudi to head an arbitration body charged with mediating the disputes, Iranian agency reports say.

Heightened tensions between Ahmadinejad and parliament, along with mounting differences between Ahmadinejad and Khamenei, are being viewed as a power struggle ahead of next year's parliamentary elections and the 2013 presidential election.

Khamenei's appointment could also be an attempt to weaken ex-President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who now heads the Expediency Council, another arbitrating body in Iran.

Rafsanjani was seen as tacitly supporting the opposition in the wake of the disputed June 2009 presidential election that brought Ahmadinejad another term in office.

compiled from local and international agencies