Middle East

Iran parliament chief retains post despite reformist gains

  • Iranian lawmakers take an oath during the inauguration of the new parliament, in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, May 28, 2016. Moderate candidates and supporters of President Hassan Rouhani secured majority of seats in the new parliament. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

    Iranian lawmakers take an oath during the inauguration of the new parliament, in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, May 28, 2016. Moderate candidates and supporters of President Hassan Rouhani secured majority of seats in the new parliament. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)  (The Associated Press)

  • Interim presiding board of Iran's new parliament, bottom, including speaker Ali Larijani, bottom center, take an oath in an open session of the parliament in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, May 29, 2016. Iran's long-serving parliament speaker Larijani will retain his post despite gains by reformists in elections held earlier this year, the official IRNA news agency reported Sunday. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

    Interim presiding board of Iran's new parliament, bottom, including speaker Ali Larijani, bottom center, take an oath in an open session of the parliament in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, May 29, 2016. Iran's long-serving parliament speaker Larijani will retain his post despite gains by reformists in elections held earlier this year, the official IRNA news agency reported Sunday. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)  (The Associated Press)

  • The Iranian parliament during an open session to choose interim presiding board in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, May 29, 2016. Iran's long-serving parliament speaker Ali Larijani will retain his post despite gains by reformists in elections held earlier this year, the official IRNA news agency reported Sunday. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

    The Iranian parliament during an open session to choose interim presiding board in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, May 29, 2016. Iran's long-serving parliament speaker Ali Larijani will retain his post despite gains by reformists in elections held earlier this year, the official IRNA news agency reported Sunday. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)  (The Associated Press)

Iran's long-serving parliament speaker will retain his post despite gains by reformists in elections held earlier this year.

The official IRNA news agency says Ali Larijani, 59, was re-elected by 173 out of the body's 281 lawmakers. He defeated Mohammed Reza Aref, who was considered more open to expanding social and political freedoms.

IRNA says Larijani, who has been speaker for the last eight years, was voted interim speaker on Sunday. He is expected to be re-elected once the credentials of new parliament members are verified.

Larijani supports President Hassan Rouhani's foreign and economic policies, including the landmark nuclear agreement reached with world powers last year.

Moderates and reformists who support Rouhani won the most seats in elections held earlier this year, marking a shift away from hard-liners.