Key Figures and Leaders

Featured Leadership

  • Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf

    Speaker of Iran's Parliament

    On May 28, 2020, Iran’s parliament elected Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf as speaker. Ghalibaf takes over from Ali Larijani, who was the longest-serving speaker in the history of the Islamic Republic. Parliament’s authority has eroded in recent years. The institution of a new gas policy in 2019, which circumvented the legislative chamber, is one such example. But the speaker remains relevant because he is a powerful political broker in the legislature and also holds seats on Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) and the Supreme Economic Coordination Council.

  • Esmail Khatib

    Islamic Republic of Iran Minister of Intelligence

    In August 2021, the Islamic Consultative Assembly ratified President Ebrahim Raisi’s selection for Minister of Intelligence and Security, Esmail Khatib, a mid-ranking cleric who has attained the title of Hojjat ol-Eslam, which means “proof of Islam.”

  • Ahmad-Reza Radan

    Commander of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Law Enforcement Command

    In January 2023, Iran’s Supreme Leader elevated Ahmad-Reza Radan as the commander of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Law Enforcement Command (LEC), which is the national police. Radan is a notorious figure, whose career has progressed in tandem with the process of increasing securitization within the Islamic Republic. His ascendance reflects the Iranian system’s desire to suppress the profound revolutionary sentiments among Iranians, and its inability to reform.

  • Hojatoleslam Mahmoud Alavi

    Former Intelligence Minister of Iran

    Hojatoleslam Mahmoud Alavi’s career has spanned Iran’s armed, deep, and elected states. He has been a legislator, a member of the Assembly of Experts, an appointee of Iran’s supreme leader, and most recently former intelligence minister. Alavi is unique in that he has maintained his credibility as a national security decision-maker while simultaneously railing against the securitization of society. At times, this has caused him political problems. This profile will explore Alavi’s trajectory across Iran’s multiple power centers.

  • Ahmad Vahidi

    Islamic Republic of Iran Minister of Interior

    In August 2021, the Islamic Consultative Assembly ratified the appointment of Ahmad Vahidi, former Defense Minister and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Qods Force commander, as  Interior Minister.

  • Mokhber

    Mohammad Mokhber

    First Vice President of Iran

    Mohammad Mokhber Dezfuli currently serves as the first vice president of Iran in President Ebrahim Raisi’s Administration. Before this position, his leadership roles at massive business conglomerates—the Mostazafan Foundation and the Execution for Imam Khomeini’s Order (EIKO)—implicated him in the corruption at the heart of Supreme Leader Khamenei’s domestic political strategy. The Supreme Leader appointed him as the head of EIKO to oversee a large patronage network. Mokhber was also responsible for implementing Khamenei’s vision of a resistance economy to neutralize international sanctions. Furthermore, he oversaw efforts to punish regime enemies by seizing their property. If his past is any indication of his future, his current role in the elected branch of government will be used to perpetuate corruption, implement a resistance economy, and punish regime enemies.

  • Ayatollah Ebrahim Raisi

    President of Iran

    Ayatollah Ebrahim Raisi has steadily risen through the ranks of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Spending most of his career in the judiciary, Raisi’s ascendance can be explained by three factors: promotion by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, an influential family network, and a knack for leveraging state positions to feed his ambition. Raisi has spent his career developing his image as an anti-corruption crusader. In recent years, Raisi has emerged as a leading candidate to succeed Khamenei.

  • Mohammad-Reza Ashtiani

    Islamic Republic of Iran Minister of Defense

    In August 2021, the Islamic Consultative Assembly ratified President Ebrahim Raisi’s selection for Defense Minister, Brigadier General Mohammad-Reza Ashtiani. The Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL) is responsible for the planning, logistics, and funding of the armed forces, and its General Staff, which directly answers to the Supreme Leader, exercises control over the forces.

  • Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

    Supreme Leader of Iran

    Under the Islamic Republic of Iran’s velayat-e faqih (guardianship of the jurist) system of government, the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is the most powerful political official in Iran. His powers include “constitutional authority over the judiciary, the regular armed forces and the elite Revolutionary Guards, and the state-controlled media.” Given the power vested in Ayatollah Khamenei's position, understanding his political and ideological views—"In His Own Words"— is crucial to understanding the Iranian regime’s current domestic and foreign policies.

  • Mohammad Eslami

    Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Director

    In August 2021, President Ebrahim Raisi appointed Mohammad Eslami to serve as Director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI). Eslami has held leadership positions in military and defense, aviation and engineering, but lacks direct experience in the nuclear energy field.