Ahmadinejad ally to head Iran's largest university

By the Associated Press | January 12, 2012 | 3:16 AM EST

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — An Iranian state-owned newspaper reports that an ally of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has become head of the largest university in the country, in a significant blow to his moderate opponents.

The Thursday report by Iran daily says Farhad Daneshjoo received five of nine votes cast by the board of trustees of the Islamic Azad University, which enrolls more than 1.7 million students in 400 branches nationwide.

Supporters of Ahmadinejad have for at least for two years pushed to replace current chancellor Abdollah Jasbi because of his affiliation with former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who back Ahmadinejad's opponent in 2009 elections.

The vote requires a final ratification by the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution, whose members are appointed by Iran's clerical leadership, to go into effect.