Socialist Worker

Who’s who in Iran

Issue No. 2157

  • Ayatollah Khomeini – Cleric who rose to power in the 1979 revolution. Supreme leader until his death in 1989.
  • Ali Khamenei – A key figure in the revolution and Iran’s president from 1981-9. He became supreme leader following Khomeini’s death.
  • Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – Won the 2005 elections, and was declared winner of the 2009 elections. He rose through the ranks of the Revolutionary Guards during the war with Iraq.
  • Mohammad Khatami – Considered the figurehead of the reform movement. Won the 1997 presidential elections and was re-elected in 2001. Although popular, he is widely seen as failing to push through reforms.
  • Mir Hussein Mousavi – Prime minister 1981-9, now associated with the reform movement. His failure to win the recent presidential election sparked the protests.
  • Hashemi Rafsanjani – Closely associated with the elite business class. Was president from 1989-97. He lost the 2005 elections. Although a conservative, he is backing the reformists in a power struggle.


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