|ASSEMBLY OF EXPERTS
The responsibilities of the Assembly of Experts are to appoint the Supreme Leader, monitor his performance and remove him if he is deemed incapable of fulfilling his duties. The assembly usually holds two sessions a year.
Although the body is officially based in the holy city of Qom, sessions are also held in Tehran and Mashhad.
Direct elections for the 86 members of the current assembly are held every eight years and are next due in 2014.
Members are elected for an eight year term. Only clerics can join the assembly and candidates for election are vetted by the Guardian Council.
The assembly is dominated by conservatives such as its chairman, Ayatollah Ali Meshkini. Former President Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, who lost the 2005 presidential election to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is deputy chairman.