Office of the Supreme Leader
The Office of the Supreme Leader is the nerve center of the Islamic Republic. In addition to supporting the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, it is a large bureaucracy. The office is headed by Mohammad Mohammadi Golpayegani and includes various advisors to the supreme leader—in military, political, and policy affairs. Other key personnel include Mojtaba Khamenei, the supreme leader’s son, who plays a key role in liaising with the intelligence community, domestic security apparatus, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC); Vahid Haghanian, an executive deputy to the supreme leader who is pictured routinely at Khamenei’s side during public functions; Ali Akbar Velayati, a former foreign minister who serves as foreign policy advisor to the supreme leader; and Asghar Mir Hejazi, who has served as deputy chief of staff to the supreme leader and chief of the Office of the Supreme Leader’s Office of Intelligence and Security Division, and whom the U.S. government has dubbed “the working brain behind the scenes of important events.” The supreme leader is the constitutional commander-in-chief, appoints the head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting organization (IRIB), the chief justice, senior leadership of the armed forces, Friday Prayer leaders, members of the Guardian Council and Expediency Council, and embeds personal representatives in state organs. The Office of the Supreme Leader also directly controls large economic foundations like the Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order (EIKO) and Astan Quds Razavi; and supervises clerical affairs through oversight over the High Council of Religious Seminaries in Qom and similar institutions. The supreme leader is the system’s final decision-maker on matters of foreign and security policy, with input from the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC).