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Hadi Khamenei

Hadi Khamenei
Born 1947 (age 68–69)
Nationality Iranian
Occupation Cleric
Religion Islam

Hojatoleslam Hadi Khamenei (born 1947) is an influential Iranian reformist politician, mojtahed and linguist.[1] He is a key member of the reformist Association of Combatant Clerics, and a former deputy of the Majlis of Iran representing a district in Tehran.[2]


  • Background 1
  • Politics 2
  • Attack 3
  • Newspapers 4
  • References 5
  • See also 6


Khamenei is the younger brother of Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, with whom he disagrees and from whom he is now estranged.[3][4]

Born to an Iranian Azerbaijani father and Yazd-native mother, Hadi Khamenei grew up in the 1950s, one of eight siblings, spending his free time raising birds and playing sports. He says that his father did not force him into religious studies.[5]


Hadi Khamenei became a leading reformer in the 1990s, putting him at odds with his older brother, whose official position he criticized as having too much power. Hadi Khamenei was an important adviser to reformist President Mohammad Khatami.[6] He was a deputy minister in the 1980s.[7]

Aside from Association of Combatant Clerics, Hadi Khamenei is Secretary-general of the Assembly of the Forces of Imam's Line.[8]

"The political right in this country say that the supreme leader is above the law, that he can change the law, that he can decree anything he feels is right. Those powers can cause a dictatorship," he told American author Robin Wright in a 2000 interview in Tehran. Khamenei argues that the Guardian Council's vetting of candidates threatens Iranian democracy. He believes that some reformist candidates are wrongly kept from running.[9] In 1998, the Guardian Council rejected Hadi Khamenei's candidacy for a seat in the Assembly of Experts,[10] allegedly for having "insufficient theological qualifications."[6]


In the 1990s, Hadi Khamenei spoke at seminaries across Iran and launched a reformist newspaper to provide alternative coverage to the state media. In late 1990s, hard-line opponents of the reform movement, organized a campaign targeted at him, by physically attacking him during lectures which were critical of the hard-line leadership, (he required hospitalization for head injuries suffered at a Qom mosque), banning his newspaper, disqualifying him from running for the Assembly of Experts.[11] On 11 February 1999, around one hundred people attacked Hadi Khamenei in Qom.[12] The attackers fractured his skull.[13] The mob used "stones, sticks, iron rods and shoes" to attack Khamenei.[12] The Iranian police arrested 45 people who were suspected to be involved in the attack.[13]

The editors of the newspapers Salam, Khordad, Sobh-i Imruz, Hamshahri, Akhbar, Iran, Etelaat, Iran News, Zan, Arya, and Kar va Kargar signed a letter condemning the attack on Hadi Khamenei.[14] The Ministry of Islamic Guidance and Culture and the "Society of Lecturers and Researchers at Qom's Theological Seminary" also condemned the attack.[14]

Some conservatives blamed Khamenei for the attack. The member of the Iranian Parliament Rajab Rahmani argued that Hadi Khamenei staged the attack to get attention and pity.[14] Mohammad Mohajeri of the Kayhan newspaper suggested that Hadi Khamenei's comments were "the root cause of violence."[14]


Khamenei was the publisher of various newspapers, including Hayat-e-No.[15] The Special Court for the Clergy, a tribunal appointed by the Supreme Leader, accused Hayat-e-No of "press offenses."[16] The newspaper was accused of insulting Imam Khomeini in a cartoon. In parliament, Hadi Khamenei said that he would have rather died than be accused of insulting the imam.[17] The Special Court for Clergy temporarily banned Hayat-e No in January 2000.[18] According to the Guardian, Hayat-e No is a reliable paper.[19] Financial Times stated that Hayat-e No was a pro-reform daily.[20] The paper was banned in December 2009 by the Press Supervisory Board “for working outside the regulations.”[21]

Hadi Khamenei's other newspaper, Jahan-e Islam, was shut down in 1995. The newspaper was accused of insulting Islamic beliefs and publishing false information.[3][4] According to The New York Times, Jahan-e Islam was a moderate daily.[1] However, in 1995, The New York Times characterized Jahan-e Islam, as a "hard-line Islamic newspaper."[22]


  1. ^ a b (14 February 1999) Reformist Kin of Iran Leader is Attacked by Militants The New York Times
  2. ^ Three editors of banned daily arrested over controversial cartoon Payvand
  3. ^ a b Zahedi, Dariush. The Iranian Revolution Then and Now: Indicators of Regime Instability Westview Press: 2001. p. 50.
  4. ^ a b News related to Iran, Iranians and Persians FarsiNet News February 1999
  5. ^ Schneider, Howard. "Iran's Supreme Leader May Have to Follow; Khamenei and Other Conservative Clerics Will Be Key to the Pace of Reforms." The Washington Post. 27 February 2000, p. A25.
  6. ^ a b frontline: terror and tehran: inside iran: by popular demand - iranian elections, 1997-2001 PBS
  7. ^ Ehteshami, Anoushiravan. After Khomeini: The Iranian Second Republic. Routledge: 1995 p. 63.
  8. ^ Iran elections: Key people and parties BBC 17 February 2004
  9. ^ Khamenei's brother attacks reformist purge BBC 12 January 2000
  10. ^ RFE/RL Iran Report. Candidates rejected and Guardians criticized Global Security
  11. ^ Wright, Robin, Sacred Rage, Simon and Schuster, (2001), p.283.
  12. ^ a b "Reformist Kin of Iran Leader Is Attacked by Militants The New York Times. (14 February 1999)
  13. ^ a b Arrests for political violence New York Times
  14. ^ a b c d RFE/RL Iran Report Global Security
  15. ^ Gholam Khiabany (6 August 2009). Iranian Media: The Paradox of Modernity. Routledge. p. 112.  
  16. ^ Ayatollah's brother faces court summons BBC News
  17. ^ Middle East | Cartoon sparks mass Iran protests BBC News
  18. ^ Three editors of banned daily arrested over controversial cartoon Payvand
  19. ^ Bin Laden's No 2 'captured in Iran' The Guardian
  20. ^ Dinmore, Guy (2000, September 11). "Blow to Iran pro-reform media": [London edition]. Financial Times, p. 08.
  21. ^ "Reformist Daily "Hayate No" Banned". Press TV via Payvand. 8 December 2009. Retrieved 15 October 2013. 
  22. ^ "World News Briefs; Hard-Line Islamic Paper Is Banned by Iran.(Foreign Desk)." The New York Times. (13 February 1995).

See also

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