( IRNA ) - The Assembly of Experts has a major status in the Islamic system of government in Iran and should stay away from political disputes, government spokesman, Gholam-Hossein Elham said on Saturday.
Asked by reporters at his weekly press conference about government's position on latest changes in the influential assembly, Elham said, "The government has no stance on the changes in the presiding board of the Assembly of Experts."
On September 4, the 86-seat body elected chairman of the Expediency Council, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, as its new head.
Rafsanjani, 73, replaced the assembly's former chairman, the late Ayatollah Ali Meshkini who passed away on July 30 at the age of 86 due to pulmonic disease.
The Assembly of Experts is an influential body in charge of appointing the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution and monitoring his performance.
Stressing the significant role played by the assembly and its major status in the society, Elham said, "The issue of the Assembly of Experts should not be linked to the issue of the government.
"The assembly has a very sensitive and spiritual status which influences the society," Elham stressed.
He recalled the statements made by the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who recommended members of the Assembly of Experts in a meeting days after the assembly's election, to act in a way that would protect the body's prestige and credit.
"The Supreme Leader stressed that the assembly should not be dragged into any political, factional and media disputes," Elham said.
Ayatollah Khamenei lashed out at foreign media propaganda against the assembly saying that they were trying to portray the Assembly of Experts as a body engaged in factional disputes and power struggle.
"They (foreign media) launched false propaganda campaign and tried to magnify certain natural differences so as to downgrade the Assembly in the mind of the public," Ayatollah Khamenei said.
He urged all members of the Assembly of Experts, including its distinguished presiding board, to "...be watchful of their words and deeds and vigilantly foil the enemies' hostile propaganda."