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A Brief Biography of Iran's New Ministers


Text Source: Roozonline

Following the approval of 18 Ahmadinejad cabinet minister nominees by the Iranian Parliament, political observers are focusing on the record and personalities of these officials. By presenting their background, Rooz hopes its readers will better understand the new managers of the country. Finding a management record for these individuals is a tough try.

Ministry of Interior

Mostafa Mohammad Najjar was born in 1956 in Tehran. His higher education was in mechanical engineer at Khaje Nasir University before the 1979 revolution. After the revolution, he joined the Revolutionary Committees (revolutionary police). As soon as the IRGC was formed in 1978, he joined the military force.

In 2002 he was admitted to Industrial Management University and in 2004 received his Master's degree in operational management. From 1976 to 2007 he was the deputy to the managing director of "Sasad" defense industries organization in weaponry, armaments and metallurgy sector. During the same period, he became the head of the executive board of the armaments industry in the defense industrial organization responsible for organization, management, guidance, supervision and control, and also the identification of strategy and policy for large research, industrial and service affairs at relevant ministries.

Because of his knowledge of Arabic, he was recognized as a senior member of Qods Force, which belongs to the IRGC, because of which he also received numerous missions in Lebanon during and after the war. He is acknowledged to be among the military trainers of Hezbollah. He had also been chosen by Rafighdoost, the then Minister of IRGC [the post of "Minister of the IRGC does not exist anymore] to be a negotiator for armament procurement, which is why he is knowledgeable in the armaments market, and its imports and exports.

His critics say that he does not have even a single day's experience of working in the non-military-security field.

Oil Ministry

Seyed-Massoud Mir-Kazemi was born in 1960 in Tehran. He joined the Revolutionary Committees after the 1979 revolution. Soon after that, he joined the IRGC. From 1981 to 1988 Mir-Kazemi was responsible for the war's technical planning and support affairs. He continued his studies during this period and received his Bachelor's degree in 1986 from Elm-va-san'at (Science and Industry) University. He enrolled in the Master' program and received his degree in 1989 from the same university.

During Khatami's second term, and between 2001 and 2003, Mir-Kazemi was the advisor to the minister of defense. From 2000 on he was the head of the center for research and logistic studies at the Ministry of Defense, a post he still holds today.  From 2002 to 2004, he was the director of IRGC's center for foundational studies, and since 2004 has been the president of Shahed University.

He has been a lecturer at Imam Hossein University (belonging to the IRGC), and Elm va San'at University. He has also been active in military publications and is the chief editor of "Faramad" and of the Management of Defense Research quarterlies. His principal activities have been the management of military and industrial units, business management of aircraft industries, and guidance or defense and military research projects.

Emad Hosseini, the spokesperson of Majlis' energy committee has said that the only thing that Mir-Kazemi knows about oil is its name.

Ministry of Defense

Ahmad Vahid was born in 1958 in Shiraz. This security-military personality has a nom de guerre of "Shahcheraghi", and used to be a senior IRGC's Qods Force outside Iran.

During the days of the revolution, he was admitted to Shiraz University to study electronic engineering.  He then joined the Revolutionary Committees, and the IRGC. When Iran's universities reopened after the Cultural Revolution, he continued his studies and received his Master's degree in electronics.

He has played a special role in the creation of the intelligence unit of the IRGC. For a while, he was also the chief commander of the Qods Force and because of this is on the wanted list of the INTERPOL. He is accused of having a hand in the bombing in Buenos Aires, Argentine in the summer of 1994.

During the Iran-Iraq war he participated in the Armed Forces General Command Headquarters where he was responsible for security affairs. When Shamkhani was the Minister of Defense from 1997 to 2005, he was the projects and planning deputy of the Ministry of Defense. At the same time, he continued his studies in industry and now holds a PhD in strategic studies from Imam Sadegh University. Vahidi was also the head of the political, defense and security committee of the Sate Expediency Council.

During Mohammad Najjar's leadership of the Ministry of Defense, Vahidi was the vice-minister and was appointed by Ahmadinejad as the representative of the armed forces in drawing up the fifth development plan of Iran.

Ministry of Communications and Information Technology

Reza Taghipour, aged 52, was born in Maraghe (in the province of West-Azarbayjan). He is currently a PhD student of management at Tarbiat Moalem University.

He has been a minister deputy at this ministry. Prior to that, he was the managing director at the Telecommunications Industry complex. From 1975 to 1981 he was the managing director of the Shiraz Electronics Industries. Before that, from 1981 to1975 he was the managing director of the Telecommunications Industry Security Company. During the 8-year war withIraq, he was a senior commander in the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and his principal duties in the Communications Ministry concerned the IRGC's missile industries or electronics. He was considered as a "model manager" by the government because of leading many projects in this ministry.

It is said that his role in the 2008 launching of Iran's "Omid" satellite is the reason for his selection as minister in the cabinet. At the time, he was the head of the Aerospace Organization at the Telecommunications Ministry.

Ministry of Intelligence

Heydar Moslehi was work in Shahreza (Isfahan province) in 1957. He has the religious degree of a senior cleric (which means that he can issue Fatwas, i.e. Shiite decrees). Immediately after the victory of the revolution in 1979 he became a member of the Revolutionary Committees (i.e. revolutionary police). With the beginning of the war with Iraq he was appointed as ayatollah Khomeini's representative in two IRGC stations (named "Karbala" and "Khatam al Anbia"), posts that he held till the end of the war.

Then he was appointed as ayatollah Khamenei's representative in the IRGC ground forces and then in the Basij. He was also the leader representative in the IRGC's air force until 2006. With Ahmadinejad's presidential victory in 2005, he was appointed as the president's advisor in clerical affairs. This post made him the target of much criticism because the administration did not enjoy good relations with the senior clerics, while he could not successfully carry out his duties at the IRGC. In mid 2006, Moslehi finally resigned from his post as the presidential advisor and was then appointed by the leader to head the Charity Organization (Sazman-e Owghaf). He has also been a member of the Central Supervisory Board working under the Guardians Council in Tehran.

While Moslehi was a trainer and lecturer at Iran's intelligence agencies and taught ideology to their personnel, he has no management record at the Ministry of Intelligence. Ahmad Tavakoli, the head of Majlis's Reasearch Center has said that a person who does not have even a single day's experience in intelligence cannot be given the position of minister of intelligence.

Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Treasury

Shamsedin Hossein was born in 1967 in Tonakaboon (Mazandaran province). In 1994 Hosseini was the head of Majlis' office of economic research. Between 1994 and 1998 he was the director general for public relations and international affairs of the plan and budget organization. The same year, he got his PhD in economics, international sector, in Azad University. Between 1998 and 2002, Moslehi was the director general of international and public relations affairs at the ministry of energy.

After he getting his PhD, he went to the ministry of commerce and became the head of the Economic Studies Center. He remained in this post until 2007. He then went to the ministry of Welfare where he was the deputy minister for welfare affairs for just over a year. With minister of economy Danesh Jaafari's resignation in 2008, Hosseini was introduced to the Majlis as the new minister of economy and soon after that received the parliament's approval.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Manoutchehr Mottaki was born in 1963 in Bandar Gaz (Golestan province). He went to India for his higher education where he studied at Bangalore University. In 1975, he received his Bachelor's degree in sociology but did not continue his education and instead returned to Iran. After the 1979 revolution he was responsible for the Revolutionary Committees (i.e. revolutionary police) in Bandar Gaz. He also became the representative of his hometown in the Majlis during the first Majlis.

In 1985 Mottaki was appointed ambassador to Turkey. After the tensions that he created with officials from his host country he returned to Iran and in 1990 was chosen to run the Western European affairs department of the ministry of foreign affairs. He then rose to the rank of minister deputy in international affairs and in 1992 was made the deputy in charge of legal and parliamentary and consular affairs.

In 1994, Mottaki was appointed as Iran's ambassador to Japan. When Khatami became president in 1997, Mottaki resigned from his post. In 2002, he became a deputy at the Organization of the Culture and Islamic Communications with ayatollah Taskhiri (the head of this organization) where he stayed for a while. He ran for the seventh Majlis from Tehran and led the Foreign Policy and National Security Committee. In 2005 he was appointed as Minister of Foreign Affairs and joined the cabinet. He used his position to give governmental posts to his relatives. Mottaki created a special under-ministerial position for his wife and gave her such a post, while also sending his brother-in-law on a diplomatic post to a Persian Gulf state.

Ministry of Commerce

Mehdi Qazanfari was born in 1960 in Aligoodarz (the province of Lorestan). He was admitted to the Elm-va-San'at (Science and Industry) university in 1979, where Ahmadinejad was also a student. In 1990 he became a member of the university's faculty. Then using a scholarship from the ministry of science he went to Australia. He says that in 1996 he received his PhD in industrial engineering with a focus on manufacturing planning from NSW of Sydney, Australia.

Qazanfari then returned to Iran and began teaching at Elam-va-San'at University. From 2002 to 2004 he was both president of the university and also a member of the planning committee of the Ministry of Science.

When Ahmadinejad became president Qazanfari became the deputy for development and economic relations and the head of Iran's organization for trade expansion in the ministry during Minister Masood Mir-Kazemi's leadership of the commerce ministry. He continued this post until the end of the ninth administration. He has no specific political record.

Ministry of Health

Mrs. Marzie Vahid Dastjerdi was born in 1959 in Tehran. She began her medical school education in 1975 at Tehran University and in 1985 and 1989 received her PhD and specialty in women and maternity fields.

Dastjerdi was a Majlis deputy in the fourth and fifth Majlis representing Tehran and has held the following positions: member of the medical group belonging to the Supreme Planning Council, a founding member of the Association for Scientific Maternity Issues, member of Iran's Medical Association, member of the Medical Association's disciplinary committee, member of the scientific committee on Family Planning at the Ministry of Health and the head of Arash hospital in Tehran.

Dastjerdi is currently the advisor to the president of Tehran University's medical school and head of the international relations department of the university.

She was recently appointed by Ahmadinejad to join the National Elite Foundation.

Minister of Cooperatives

Mohammad Abbasi was born in 1958 in Gorgan (Golestan province). He is currently a PhD student in management at Azad University of Tehran.

In 1979 Abbasi became a teacher in different schools in Gorgan, then the head of the Education Department (the provincial branch of the Education Ministry) in Gorgan. He was then promoted to become the deputy director general of the Education Department for Golestan provinces. After that, he was appointed as the director general for the Culture and Islamic Affairs Department in Golestan. Abbasi then became the planning deputy of the governor-general in the province.

Later, he was elected as a Majlis MP from Gorgan during its seventh term and became a member of the planning, budget and statistics committee.

Minister of Agricultural Jihad

Sadegh Khalilian was born in 1959 in the city of Ahvaz (Khouzaestan province). He received his PD in agricultural economy in1996. In 1990 he became a member of the scientific faculty of the agricultural college of Tarbiat Moalem University and began teaching. Prior to that, he was a member of the Islamic Association of Students, the Revolutionary Committees (i.e. revolutionary police) and IRGC.

In 1998 and 1999, Khalilian was the dean of the college of natural resources and marine sciences of Tarbiat Moalem University, and from 2000 on was the director of agricultural economy at this university. He held the position of deputy minister responsible for planning at the ministry of agriculture and the deputy minister responsible for economic affairs at the Ministry of Agricultural Jihad.

Minister of Transportation

Hamid Behbahani was born in 1940 in Shiraz. At 48, he went to the United States to continue his education. In 1977 he received his PhD in civil engineering from Kingsville, Florida, after which he returned to Iran and began teaching at Elm-va-san'at (Scince and Industry) University, where Ahmadinejad too was a student.

In his portfolio, he has the position of transport and traffic deputy at Tehran's municipality (when Ahmadinejad was the mayor of Tehran), two-terms as the head of the Civil Engineering Organization of Tehran province, and for 20 years (until 1998) the president of the college of urban development at Elm-va-san'at University.  Behbahani was Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's advisor professor for his doctoral program. According to sixth Majlis MP Ahmad Shirzad, Ahmadinejad did not appear for his PhD defense session and Behbahani continued the session without him.

Behbahani became Minister of Roads and Transportation in the ninth administration when Mohammad Rahmati was removed from the post. His critiques accuse him of law violations by having received four salaries at the same time when he was the Minister of Road and Transportation. Mohammad-Bagher Ghalibaf, the mayor of Tehran, recently has told in a private meeting that Behbehani is an "alcohol-drinker".

Ministry of Industries and Mines

Ali-Akbar Mehrabian was born in 1969 and is the youngest of the nominees for the new Ahmadinejad's Administration. He was born in Khansar (Isfahan province) and after getting his high school diploma, was admitted to Elmva-San'at (Science and Industry University) from where he finally received his Bachelor's degree in urban development. His association with Ahmadinejad goes back to those days.

When Ahmadinejad was the mayor of Ardebil, he took Mehrabian with him and when he went to Tehran, he did the same. In 2007 after Alireza Tahmasebi was removed as the Minister of Industries and Mines, Mehrabian was appointed as the new Minister, thus becoming the youngest minister in Ahmadinejad's former cabinet.

Recently, a researcher named Farzad Salimi filed a suit against Akbar Mehrabian and proved that his invention had been stolen six years earlier by the current minister of industries, Mehrabian. An appellate court upheld the sentence and Mehrabian was sentenced for stealing someone else's invention. As became apparent, the invention of the "earthquake safe room" had been invented and designed by Salimi before it had been registered by Mehrabian. From this invention that helps reinforcing parts of a house against earthquakes, emerged a book, with Ahmadinejad's name on it as well.

But despite these, a few days before Hashemi Shahrudi's term as chief of Iran's judiciary branch ended, the sentences of these two courts were annulled by Shahroudi.

Ministry of Science

Kamran Daneshjoo was born in 1957 in Damghan (Semnan Province). After finishing his intermediate school and soon after the victory of the 1979 revolution, he went to the UK and received his Bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Queen Mary's college. He claims to have received his Master's degree and finally his PhD in aerospace from the Manchester University in 1989. But it is revealed by some Majlis representatives that he tells a lie and he has never finished his studies in the UK (he was expelled from the UK because of attacking a library that sold the Satanic Verses book written by Salman Rushdi).

He became acquainted with Ahmadinejad in the late 90s and has been a full professor since 1993 at Science and Industry University. Other jobs he has held have been membership in the Student Disciplinary Board until 1998, director of the construction at the satellite research center of Elm-va San'at  (Science and Industry) University from 1997 until 2002, director of the aerospace group at the same university from 1999 till 2006, director of research and design for new aerospace technologies from 2002 till 2005, deputy minister of the minister of interior and political deputy in 2008 and 2009, and, the governor of Tehran from 2005 to 2008.

Daneshjou was the head of the election board at the ministry of interior during the tenth presidential elections, where he witnessed the most violated election in the history of the Islamic republic.

Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance

Seyed Mohammad Hosseini was born in Rafsanjan, Kerman province, in 1961. After the victory of the 1979 revolution, he became a member of the IRGC. During the war with Iraq, he participated in many battles and military operations.

In 1990 he was admitted to the PhD program for Islamic Jurisprudence and the Fundamentals of Islamic Law at Tehran University and in 1994 received his PhD. Since 1990 Hosseini has been a member of the faculty of Tehran University. For a while, he was Iran's cultural counselor in Kenya. In the 1990s, he became a member of the fifth Majlis from Rafsanjan. When Larijani was the head of the state-run national radio and television organization (IRIB), he became its executive deputy.

Hosseini held several posts in the ninth administration, such as deputy of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education.

Minister of Labor and Social Affairs

Abdol-Reza Sheikholeslami was born in 1967 in Nowshahr (Mazandaran province). He entered the university in 1989 and was Ahmadinejad's fellow student. He received a in urban engineering from Elm-va-san'at  (Science and Industry) University in 1993, and in 1995 received his Master's.

For a while he served in Ardebil provinces when Ahmadinejad was the governor-general. In 2002 he began his PhD studies in urban engineering and in 2006 received his degree from Elm-va-san'at University. During Ahmadinejad's mayorship of Tehran, Sheikholeslami was the head of the advisor and director general at the municipality and through one of the first steps of the ninth administration was appointed governor of Hormozgan province.

After leaving this province, Sheikholeslami became Ahmadinejad's chief of staff. Until the end of the ninth administration he remained a special advisor to the president in responsible for organizing manpower.

Housing Ministry

Ali Nikzad was born in 1961 and is a long-time colleague of Ahmadinejad since the days of the latter's governorship of Ardebil. He studied urban development in the University of Elm-va-san'at (Science and Industry) and received his Master's degree in public management from Industrial Management University.

When the ninth administration came to office, he was appointed governor-general of Ardebil. An important point about him is his record in housing construction projects in Ardebil during Ahmadinejad's governorship.

Niknejad is currently director of the Municipalities Organization at the ministry of interior.

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