Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, a senior Iranian cleric and a former chief justice, died at the age of 70 on Monday after a long illness, Iranian state-run media reported.
Shahroudi had been the head of the Expediency Council since last year and a member of the 12-man Guardian Council.
Shahroudi was appointed by Khamenei in 2017 as the head of the Expediency Council, a body intended to resolve disputes between parliament and a watchdog body, the Guardian Council.
He was also deputy head of the Assembly of Experts which has the power to choose the successor to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — a position to which Shahroudi himself was occasionally linked.
Before this, Shahroudi served as the chief of the Iranian regime’s judiciary for 10 years between 1999 and 2009.
During that period Shahroudi led a crackdown on dissidents, activists and reformists. In a controversial move, he led the charge in 2001 against reformist lawmakers despite their parliamentary immunity.
His tenure concluded with the mass protests over allegations of rigging in the 2009 presidential election, which led to thousands being arrested and allegations of severe prisoner abuse.
Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi was responsible for the Islamic Revolutionary Courts that sent numerous human rights activists, defence lawyers, journalists, webloggers, political dissidents, and religious minorities to Iran’s notorious prisons where they were subject to torture, rape, and murder.
He was also the first chief of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, a militia group the Iranian regime founded after the 1979 revolution to pursue its expansionist goals in Iraq. The Council has had an active role in carrying out terrorist attacks in Iraq.
At one point, Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of the Iranian regime, was rumored to be grooming Shahroudi to become his successor. In 2011, Khamenei appointed Shahroudi as the head of the Supreme Delegation to Resolve Disputes Between Government Branches.
Earlier this year, Shahroudi was forced to cut short his stay at a Hanover clinic in Germany after activists referred him to prosecutors, citing what they called his record of passing death sentences.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an exiled opposition group, said his issuing of “thousands” of death sentences amounted to a crime against humanity and urged German prosecutors to investigate.
Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi was born in the city of Najaf in Iraq to Iranian parents. In the 1970s he was jailed and tortured by Saddam Hussein’s security forces because of his political activities.
He moved to Iran after the Islamic revolution in 1979 and was promoted to top posts.