Iran's official IRNA news agency says members of the country's most influential clerical body charged with choosing or dismissing the nation's supreme leader have elected a hard-line ayatollah as their new chairman.

The Tuesday report says Mohammad Yazdi, the deputy chairman of the 86-member Assembly of Experts, got 47 votes in his favor from among 73 clerics who attended the session.

Yazdi's election follows the death last October of the former chairman, Mohammadreza Mahdavi Kani.

The assembly monitors Iran's supreme leader and picks a successor after his death, but does not involve itself in daily affairs.

It has only once picked a supreme leader since the 1979 Islamic Revolution — in 1989, when it chose Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to succeed his late mentor, the Islamic Revolution patriarch Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.