Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has appointed the country’s former judiciary chief to help heal the rift between him and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Khamenei appointed Ayatollah Mahmoud Shahroudi to lead an arbitration body that will address controversies between the two men.

The dispute between them has been going on since Ahmadinejad forced the Intelligence Minister Heider Moslehi to resign in April (MEED 18:4:11). Khamenei refused to accept the resignation and reinstated him.

This led to Ahmadinejad boycotting his official duties for more than a week.

The establishment of an arbitration body is a sign that Khamenei is trying to distance himself from the dispute. Shahroudi will chair a five-member panel of hardliners known for their opposition to any reforms.

Parliamentary elections and the 2013 presidential balloting are both scheduled to take place next year.