Hard-Liner Zakani approved as new Tehran Mayor

TEHRAN (RFE/RL): The head of Tehran’s city council says Iran’s Interior Ministry has approved hard-liner Alireza Zakani as the capital city’s new mayor.

Mehdi Chamran announced on September 2 that the ministry had signed the relevant decree, three weeks after the city council vote for the 55-year-old to replace Pirouz Hanachi as the city’s leader.

Zakani, who heads a parliamentary research center, was one of the seven candidates approved by the authorities to run in the presidential election earlier this year.

But he withdrew from the race to support the eventual winner, fellow hard-liner Ebrahim Raisi.

As a lawmaker, Zakani is well-known for his outspoken opposition to Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

He also has served since the late 1990s as the head of Iran’s volunteer Basij paramilitary militia, an organization affiliated with the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).