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Hojjatoleslam Mohammad Khatami

Hojjatoleslam Mohammad Khatami, the fifth President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, was born in Ardakan, in the central Province of Yazd in 1943 to a religious family.

Son of respected Ayatollah Ruhollah Khatami, President Khatami finished his early school years in his homeland. Then he entered Qom Theology School in 1961. Later, he received his BA in Philosophy from Isfahan University, and completed the senior level of religious studies at Qom Seminary. Having entered the post-graduate course in Educational Sciences at Tehran University in 1970 he later returned to Qom to study the courses in Ijtihad (Practice of religious leadership) at the Seminary.

Khatami was involved in political activities and anti-Shah campaign by preparing, duplicating and distributing political statements, especially those issued by the Founder of the Islamic Republic, late Imam Khomeini. He began his political activities at the Association of Muslim Students of Isfahan University, worked closely with Imam Khomeini's late son, Hojjatoleslam Ahmad Khomeini and Martyr Mohammad Montazeri and organized religious and political debates.

Khatami chaired the Islamic Center of Hamburg in Germany before the victory of the 1979 Islamic Revolution on the recommendation of Martyr Mohammad Beheshti. The Center turned into an Islamic campaign center when the late Imam Khomeini went to France. He represented the Ardakan and Meibod constituencies in the first term of the Majlis (the Iranian parliament) in 1980. He was appointed as the head of Kayhan Institute by late Imam Khomeini in 1981. In 1982, he was appointed Minister of Culture and Islamic guidance during the premiership of Mirhossein Mousavi. During the Iran-Iraq war, he served in different capacities including Deputy and Head of the Joint Command of the Armed Forces and Chairman of the War Propaganda Headquarters. He was once again appointed Minister of Culture and Islamic guidance by President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani in 1989.

Following his resignation in 1992, President Khatami was appointed as cultural advisor to President Rafsanjani and head of Iran's National Library. Khatami, a former Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, was impeached in 1992 by the Majles for "liberalism" and "negligence". In 1996 he was appointed as a member of High Council for Cultural Revolution by the Leader of Iran. As President he was the head of the council.

He was acquainted with three languages, English, German and Arabic. He also wrote a number of books and articles in different fields. He married in 1974 and had two daughters and a son. President Khatami was elected as the fifth President of the Islamic Republic in May 1997 elections by gaining 20,078,178 votes, almost 70 percent of the votes cast.

The administrations of Mohammad Khatami encountered the same resistance from the conservative Majlis as his predecessor Hashemi Rafsanjani. Reformists won a majority of seats in the 2000 parliamentary elections and then enacted several notable pieces of reform legislation in the ensuing term. Having lost control of the parliament, conservatives tried to use their influence in the judiciary and bureaucracy to impede reforms they perceived as threatening their positions. Conservatives regained control of the parliament in the 2004 elections.

Although Iran's foreign relations had improved under Khatami, in the early 2000s earlier progress was eroded by Iran's ostensible support of designated terrorist groups in the Middle East (primarily Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Palestine) and conflict with the European Union and the United States over Iran's nuclear program. Iran's international position was jeopardized by the construction of nuclear processing plants to provide fuel for its nuclear energy generating facility at Bushehr, which was being built with significant technical input from Russia.

Khatami chose not to stand for elections in 2005, but threatened to lead a mass political boycott after the Guardian Council used its powers to prevent the candidacy of other reformist candidates. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei intervened to have the candidates reinstated. Election fraud and harassment followed and none of the reformist candidates secured major portions of the vote. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the ultra-conversative mayor of Tehran, who had single digit poll numbers prior to the election was elected as President in 2005.

Khatami continued to participate in the political establishment, as a member of the Majlis, after the election, a critic of both the Ahmadinejad administration, but also the policies of the United States and others in the region. Khatami also chose to use less inflamatory rhetoric than Ahmadinejad, countering the Presidents many declarations challanging the existance or extent of the Holocaust during the rule of Nazi Germany in Europe. Khatami said that while the Holocaust was a fact, it had been improperly used by the creators of the state of Israel and its supporters.

In a September 2009 video, the controversial Hassan Abbasi addresses Ali Kordan and "Kordanism" (faking degrees), after a portion of Iranian students at Isfahan University ridiculed Ali Kordan, a conservative politician who faked his degree and became a powerful figurehead in Iran was removed by the conservative party afterwards. Hassan Abbasi argues the Reformist movement is inherently corrupt. Abbasi took shots at President Mohammad Khatami, who after his return to Iran from Germany titled himself Doctor with every signature for over a decade. Abbasi also talks about trafficking of Iranian girls to Dubai as sex slaves which was revealed during the Mohammad Khatami administration, evidence of negligence and even that the reformist movement was involved in trafficking surfaced.

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Page last modified: 23-06-2019 18:48:17 ZULU