Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has appointed Hojatoleslam Sadegh Ardeshir Larijani as the country's new chief of the judiciary, state television has reported. Mr Larijani, the younger brother of parliament speaker Ali Larijani, replaces Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi and will head the powerful judiciary for five years. Born in 1960 in Iraq's Shiite holy city of Najaf, Mr Larijani has been a member of the powerful electoral watchdog, the Guardian Council, since 2001. He is the author of several scholarly publications.
Mr Larijani grew up in a religious family. His father, Ayatollah Mirza Hashem Amoli, had escaped persecution during the Pahlavi regime in early 1930s. The Khamenei decree appointing Mr Larijani called for "quick and easy" justice to be applied under the new judiciary chief. "It is expected that the judiciary's pillars be healthy, verdicts be certain and decided easily and quickly ... the people in charge of this establishment must not fall short of efforts to meet these expectations," it said.
Mr Larijani is the third head of the judiciary to be appointed by Khamenei since he became the Islamic republic's supreme leader in 1989. The two previous heads enjoyed two terms of five years each. *AFP