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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 July, 2003, 11:07 GMT 12:07 UK
Profile: Ayatollah Shahrudi
Ayatollah Shahrudi
Ayatollah Shahrudi: Head of the judiciary
Ayatollah Shahrudi has been head of Iran's judiciary since 1999. He is seen as close to both the president and the Supreme Leader.

In December 1999, he pledged to cooperate with President Khatami in reforming the judiciary.

About 40 people, including judges, were arrested in December 2000 in a crackdown on bribery and corruption in the country's courts. Ayatollah Shahrudi has also spearheaded a fight against economic crime.

When a row broke out in December 2001 between the conservative judiciary and the reform-dominated parliament over the jailing of an MP, he was asked by the government to intervene.

In a move seen as an olive branch to reformers, he suggested that the heads of the judiciary, legislature and executive should meet to resolve the issue.

However, tensions between the judiciary and other branches of power in Iran have persisted.

In December 2002, the judiciary spokesman resigned in protest at its involvement in politics.

In April 2003, journalists complained in an open letter to Ayatollah Shahrudi that the judiciary was infringing their constitutional rights.

Later that month, he approved the promotion of a hardline judge, said to be behind newspaper closures.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.


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