Iran has begun registering candidates for an influential clerical body that has the power to choose or dismiss the country's supreme leader.

The weeklong registration of candidates to the 88-seat Experts Assembly opened Thursday. Elections for the body will be held simultaneously with parliamentary elections on Feb. 26, with both open to all eligible voters.

The assembly monitors Iran's supreme leader and picks a successor after his death, making it potentially one of the most powerful institutions in Iran, although it does not involve itself in daily affairs of state.

Former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said this week that an assembly committee has already begun compiling a list of potential candidates to succeed current Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, breaking a taboo on speaking openly about the top leader's successor.