Key Figures and Leaders

Featured Leadership

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 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.

  • Brigadier General 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.

  • Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei

    The New Head of Iran’s Judiciary

    On July 1, 2021, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appointed Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei, who has made a name for himself as a ruthless enforcer of the Islamic Republic with no regard for human rights, as the new head of the Judiciary branch. He succeeded Ebrahim Raisi after the latter was elected President of Iran.

  • Abolqasem Salavati

    The Judge of Death

    Abolqasem Salavati is an Iranian judge infamous for violating the human rights of defendants and sentencing them to death or long prison terms on trumped-up charges. He is nicknamed “The Hanging Judge” and “The Judge of Death.”

  • 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.

  • Brigadier General Esmail Qaani

    Commander of the IRGC's Quds Force

    On January 3, 2020, the United States assassinated Major General Qasem Soleimani, who commanded the Quds Force (QF), the external operations branch of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). That same day, Brigadier General Esmail Qaani, Soleimani’s longtime deputy, was named the QF’s new chief by Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

  • 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.