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Iran Re-elects Conservative Parliament Leader

Iranian lawmakers attend an open session of parliament to choose the interim presiding board in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, May 29, 2016. Iran's long-serving parliament speaker Ali Larijani will retain his post despite gains by reformists in elections held earlier this year, the official IRNA news agency reported Sunday.

Iran’s moderate conservative parliament leader was re-elected Sunday despite the gains made by reformists in elections held in February.

Ali Larijani was re-elected with the votes of 173 of 281 lawmakers, with several members of the reformist party breaking ranks to vote against the head of their own List of Hope party, Mohammad Reza Aref.

Larijani’s election is an early win for the moderate conservatives in the new parliament, which convened Saturday for the first time. It also serves as a show of support for moderate President Hassan Rouhani and the nuclear deal signed last July with world powers.

Moderates and reformists who support Rouhani won the most seats in elections held earlier this year, though they are still short of a majority.

Reformists hold 133 of the parliament’s 290 seats, with conservatives holding another 125. The rest of the seats are held by independents and religious minorities who are likely to support Rouhani’s efforts to pass legislation.