Reformist Mohammad Ali Najafi has been elected mayor of Iran’s capital Tehran, ending 14 years of control by the conservatives.
Najafi (pictured) was chosen by the City Council on Thursday, almost three months after reformists took all of the 21 seats on the council in May.
Mohammad Baqer-Qalibaf had been mayor of Tehran from 2005 to 2017, after his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected Iran’s President. But the popularity of Qalibaf and the conservatives was eroded in recent years by a series of controversies over infrastructure, economic collusion with the Revolutionary Guards, and claimed mismanagement, with Tehran facing growing difficulties with traffic and air pollution. A deadly fire in the iconic 17-story Plasco Building in January, in which fire services struggled to deal with the blaze and rescue people as the structure collapsed, was a powerful symbol of the decline.
Still Qalibaf ran again for Iran’s Presidency this spring, pulling out just before the May 19 election in favor of the conservative cleric Ebrahim Raisi.
Najafi, 65, a retired professor of mathematics at Sharif University, was Higher Education Minister from 1981 to 1984 and 1989 to 1997. He was briefly a Vice President and then caretaker Higher Education Minister in the Rouhani Government in 2013-2014.
Najafi will officially begin his four-year term on September 6.