Backgrounder info on the following: Mousavi, Khatami, Larijani, Ahmadinejad

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backgrounder info on the following: Mousavi, Khatami, Larijani, Ahmadinejad, Khamenei, judiciary head Shahroudi, IRGC chief Jaafari, GC chairman Jannati – brief bios of each hitting the main points
Mir-Hossein Mousavi

  • born 1941 in Khameneh, East Azerbaijan, Iran

  • Iranian politician, painter, and architect


  • Masters degree in Architecture from Shahid Beheshti University


  • in early years of Islamic Republic he was editor of the official newspaper of the Islamic Republic Party

  • before PM, Minister of Foreign Affairs

  • PM of Iran from 1981-89 during Ali Khamenei’s presidency – managed the country during the 1980-88 war w/ Iraq

  • rarely stated his public opinions since leaving office in 1989

  • last PM of Iran before change in constitution which removed post of PM

  • currently president of Iranian Academy of Arts, high consultant to President

  • member of Expediency Discernment Council and High Council of Cultural Revolution (but rumors he hasn’t participated in their meetings for a long time)

  • member of Iran's Expediency Council, runs on the Reformist platform and is a member of the National Confidence (Etemad-e-Melli) Party

  • announced 3/10 running for President

  • pro-reform

  • wants to counter 'obvious law scams' taking place in the country
Mohammad Khatami

  • fifth president of Islamic Republic of Iran

  • son of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khatami

  • married in 1974 and has two daughters and a son

  • speaks English, German and Arabic in addition to Persian

  • written a number of books and articles in different fields


  • finished early school years in his homeland – then attended Qom Theology School in 1961

  • got his BA in philosophy from Isfahan University, accomplishing religious studied in senior level at Qom Seminary

  • 1970 – entered University of Tehran and graduated w/ an MA – returned to Qom later to follow up on philosophical studies


  • involved in political activities and anti-Shah campaign – began at Association of Muslim Students of Isfahan University, working closely w/ Ayatollah Khomeini’s late son, Hojjatoleslam Ahmad Khomeini, and Martyr Mohammad Montazeri and organized religious and political debates

  • after revolution in 1979 replaced Ayatollah Dr. Beheshti as Head of Hamburg Islamic Center in Germany

  • represented Ardakan and Meibod constituencies in the first term of Majlis [Parliament] in 1980 – appointed head of Kayhan newspaper institute by late Ayatollah Khomeini in 1981, where he later resigned

  • 1982 – appointed as minister of culture and Islamic guidance during the premiership of Mirhossein Mousavi

  • during 1980-1988 war with Iraq, he served different responsibilities including deputy and head of the Joint Command of the Armed Forces and chairman of the War Propaganda Headquarters

  • again appointed as the minister of culture and Islamic guidance by President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani in 1989 – following his resignation in 1992, Khatami was appointed as cultural advisor to President Rafsanjani and head of Iran's National Library – 1996 appointed as a member of High Council for Cultural Revolution by the Leader of Iran – as President he was the head of the council

  • elected as the fifth president of the Islamic Republic of Iran in May 1997 elections by gaining almost 70 percent of the votes cast – re-elected as president in 2001 election by greater mandate of Iranian people (almost 78% of the vote cast)

  • promised change – women/young voted

  • seen as not as stern as previous leaders – charming – open to new ideas

  • said won’t run against Mousavi
Ali Larijani

  • born 1958 in Iraqi city of Najaf but is naturalized Iranian citizen – son of an ayatollah

  • comes from family of hard-line politicians holding posts in several powerful institutions

  • married the daughter of the late Ayatollah Morteza Motahari, a close confidant of Iran's revolutionary founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini


  • PhD and masters in western philosophy from Tehran University – bachelors in computer science and mathematics from Sharif University in Iran


  • former cultural minister in 1990s – served in President Rafsanjani’s government as Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance

  • as head of state radio/TV from 1994 to 2004 had reformists come on and confess to insulting religious leaders and harming national security (said to be under duress) –tried to curb foreign cultural influence by cutting imported programs – criticized

  • to promote Islamic broadcasting in 2003 set up two Arabic-language TV stations, al-Alam and Sahar, and 24-hour external radio network

  • also a former commander of the elite Revolutionary Guards – appointed by supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to be a representative to the Supreme Security Council in 2005 and was appointed the council secretary and its top nuclear negotiator by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that year replacing the moderate Hasan Rowhani

  • resigned as chief negotiator in 2007 but remained an envoy to the council

  • was secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (main negotiator on major FP issues such as talks on Iran’s nuclear program) – appointed in 2004 for 3-year term – 2005 – appointed head of council by Ahmadinejad – replaced more moderate cleric

  • conservative – close follower of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

  • ran against Ahmadinejad but lost – openness toward negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program put them at odds

  • March 2008 parliamentary election, Larijani won a seat from Qom – said that he was willing to work with Ahmadinejad; according to Larijani, he did not disagree with Ahmadinejad on ideological issues and they had only "differences in style"

  • May 2008, Larijani became speaker of the parliament, in what was described by Time magazine as a political blow to Ahmadinejad

  • has accused reformists of undermining Islamic values – “If reforms are not undertaken for the sake of religion, justice and morality, they do not constitute reforms” – has blamed reformists for corruption/neglect of the economy – “You cannot create reforms with hungry people… Some 75% of the Iranian people's demands are economic... and only 5% cultural and political"

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

  • born in Garmsar, near Tehran, in 1956 – son of a blacksmith


  • PhD in traffic and transport from Tehran’s University of Science and Technology, where he was a lecturer


  • confusion about his role in 1979 Islamic Revolution – some say he was among those who captured Americans but he/others deny it

  • joined the Revolutionary Guard voluntarily after the revolution – reported to have done covert operations during 1980-88 Iran/Iraq war

  • obscure figure when appointed mayor of Tehran in spring of 2003 – former revolutionary guard curtailed many of the reforms put in place by moderates who had run the city before him

  • still not known that well when entered presidential campaign

  • elected president in June 2005 – reportedly spent no money on campaign but backed by powerful conservatives – also had support of younger revolutionaries – focused on poverty/social justice

  • since election, tough stand on FP w/ hard-line background

  • comments that Israel should be "wiped off the map" and that the Holocaust was a "myth" drew widespread condemnation from the West

  • hardliner on nuclear issue

  • banned Western music from state-run TV/radio in 2005
Ali Khameini

  • born in Mashhad, Khorasan province of Iran, in 1939


  • began religious studies before completing elementary education

  • attended classes of masters of “Sath” and “Kharej” in Mashhad


  • went to Najaf in 1957

  • settled in Qom in 1958

  • attended classes of Boroojerdi and Khomeini

  • arrested in Birjand for Islamic activities in 1963

  • released and continued teaching in religious schools in Mashhad – held Nahaj-ul-Balagheh lesson sessions in different mosques

  • 1974 – arrested at home by SAVAK – released 1975 – not allowed to hold public classes

  • 1977 – together w/ clerics from Qom and Tehran – established Jame'ye Rouhaniyat Mobarez (Combatant Clerics Association) which became the basis of the Islamic Republic Party

  • 1979 – in collaboration with his four brothers established the Islamic Republic – served in the Central Council of the Party, and as deputy of the Ministry of Defense and representative of the Council in the Ministry, Commander of Islamic Revolution's Guards Corps.

  • Khomeini appointed him in 1980 to be the leader of the Friday congregational prayers in Tehran – also elected as a deputy of the Islamic Consultative Assembly (Majlis) in the same year

  • summer of 1981, after delivering an important speech in the Majlis which led to the dismissal of the then President Abolhassan Bani-Sadr, an attempt was made on his life by the Mojahedin Khalq Organization (an armed opposition movement) while making a speech in a mosque in Tehran, and his chest and hand were badly injured

  • following the President Mohammad Rajaee's assassination in 1981, Hojatoleslam Khamenei was elected president of the Islamic Republic with 95% of the votes cast in his favor

  • he was president for another four years – during this time, he was chairman of the Supreme Defense Council and the Supreme Cultural Revolution Council

  • 1989 – he received the title of "Ayatollah" from the Theological School of Qom – June of same year, by the death of Ayatollah Khomeini's, he was elected Vali-e Faqih (Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic) by the majority of votes of the Assembly of Experts

  • after Ayatollah Araki's death, Ayatollah Khamenei was nominated as one of the sources of imitation by the Qom's Theological School

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