Key Figures and Leaders

Featured Leadership

  • 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

    Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council

    Ali Shamkhani, the 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

    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.