Key Figures and Leaders

Featured Leadership

  • Mohammad Kawtharani

    Lebanese Hezbollah's Representative in Iraq

    Mohammad Hussein Kawtharani is Lebanese Hezbollah’s representative in Iraq. Kawtharani assumed greater responsibility in overseeing Iraq’s Shia militias since the death of former Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani. The U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned Kawtharani in 2013, describing him as the “individual in charge of Hizballah’s activities in Iraq.”

  • Hossein Amir-Abdollahian

    Islamic Republic of Iran Foreign Minister

    In August 2021, President Ebrahim Raisi proposed Hossein Amir-Abdollahian to serve as his Foreign Minister and he was ratified by the Islamic Consultative Assembly on August 25, 2021. Known in Western media as a hawkish diplomat, Amir-Abdollahian is close to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and presents himself as the diplomatic face of the IRGC in the Middle East.

  • Asghar Mir-Hejazi

    The Supreme Leader’s Enforcer

    Asghar Mir-Hejazi is one of the most influential actors in Iran’s establishment. But he flies under the radar of most Western coverage of Iran. This is because he represents the very essence of Iran’s deep state. Mir-Hejazi’s power stems from the longevity of his closeness to Iran’s supreme leader. His rise through the ranks of Iran’s intelligence community and the Office of the Supreme Leader have wielded him considerable stature in Tehran.

  • Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani

    Former Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani

    Ali Shamkhani, the former secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), is one of Iran’s leading strategists. His credentials span the spectrum of Tehran’s various power centers, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the Islamic Republic’s regular military (Artesh), and the Ministry of Defense and Logistics (MODAFL), to name a few. There is evidence to suggest that Shamkhani has become more influential recently, particularly following the death of former IRGC- Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani. This profile will explore Shamkhani’s experience at the helm of multiple organs within Iran’s armed, deep, and elected states, which provide him with a unique perspective that other regime officials lack.

  • Javad Oji

    Islamic Republic of Iran Oil Minister

    In August 2021, President Ebrahim Raisi nominated Javad Oji as his Oil Minister, one of the most important posts in the Islamic Republic given the state’s reliance on the oil and gas industry.

  • Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati

    Chairman of Iran’s Assembly of Experts and Secretary of the Guardian Council

    Ahmad Jannati is a 95-year-old ayatollah and politician with close ties to both the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ruhollah Khomeini, and his successor Ali Khamenei, the current supreme leader.

  • Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf

    Speaker of Iran's Parliament

    In June 2021, the Islamic Consultative Council, also known as the Majles or Parliament, elected Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf as its speaker for the second consecutive year, a position he has retained since. In 2020, Ghalibaf had taken over from Ali Larijani, who was the longest-serving speaker in the history of the Islamic Republic. The Supreme Leader has significantly eroded the Parliament’s authority over the years, controlling the field of eligible candidates running for seats and exercising informal influence behind the legislature and the Speaker. As the head of one of the three branches, the Speaker sits 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.