Mohammad Khatami

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Mohammad Khatami
سید محمد خاتمی
Mohammad Khatami  سید محمد خاتمی
Order: 5th President of Iran
First Vice President: Hassan Habibi (19972001), Mohammad Reza Aref (20012005)
Term of office: August 3, 1997August 2, 2005
Preceded by: Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani
Succeeded by: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Date of birth: 1943
Place of birth: Ardakan, Iran
Political party: Militant Clerics Society

Hojjat ol-Eslam Seyyed Mohammad Khatami (حجت‌الاسلام سید محمد خاتمی; born October 14, 1943 in Ardakan, Yazd province), a prominent Iranian-Moslem intellectual, served as the fifth President of Iran from August 2, 1997 to August 2, 2005 and was succeeded by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He is a member of the Central Council of Militant Clerics Society.

Khatami was elected president on May 23, 1997 and was re-elected on June 8, 2001 for a second term. Khatami won largely due to the female and youth vote, who voted for him because he promised to improve the status of women and respond to the demands of the young generation in Iran.


Early career

Khatami has a bachelor's degree in Western philosophy from Isfahan University, but he left academia while studying for a master's degree in Educational Sciences at Tehran University, and instead went to Qom to complete his previous studies in Islamic sciences. He studied there for seven years and completed the courses to the highest level, Ijtihad. After that, he went to Germany to chair the Islamic Centre in Hamburg, where he stayed until the Iranian revolution.

Before serving as a president, Khatami has been a representative in the parliament from 1980 to 1982, supervisor of the Kayhan Institute, Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance (1982-1986, and then for a second term from 1989 to May 24, 1992, when he resigned), the head of the National Library of Iran from 1992 to 1997, and a member of Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution.



President Mohammad Khatami 1997–2005
First Vice President Hassan Habibi 1997–2001
Mohammad Reza Aref 2001–2005
Foreign Affairs Kamal Kharrazi 1997–2005
Agricultural Jihad Issa Kalantari 1997–2000
Mahmoud Hojjati 2000–2005
Commerce Mohammad Shariatmadar 1997–2005
CIT Mohammad Reza Aref 1997–2000
Ahmad Motamedi 2000–2005
Cooperatives Morteza Haaji 1997–2001
Ali Soufi 2001–2005
Culture Attaollah Mohajerani 1997–2000
Ahmad Masjed-Jamei 2000–2005
Defense Ali Shamkhani 1997–2005
Economy Hossein Namazi 1997–2001
Tahmasb Mazaheri 2001–2004
Safdar Hosseini 2004–2005
Education Hossein Mozzafar 1997–2001
Morteza Haaji 2001–2005
Power Habibolah Bitaraf 1997–2005
Health Mohammad Farhadi 1997–2001
Masoud Pezeshkian 2001–2005
HUD Ali Abdolalizadeh 1997–2005
Industrial Gholamreza Shafei 1997–2001
Eshaq Jahangiri 2001–2005
Intelligence Ghorbanali Dorri Najafabadi 1997–1998
Ali Younesi 1998–2005
Interior Abdollah Nouri 1997–1998
Abdolvahed Mousavi Lari 1998–2005
Justice Mohammad Ismaeil Shooshtari 1997–2005
Labour Hossein Kamali 1997–2001
Safdar Hosseini 2001–2004
Nasser Khaleghi 2004–2005
Petroleum Bijan Namdar Zangeneh 1997–2005
Roads Mahmoud Hojatti 1997–2000
Rahman Dadman 2000
Ahmad Khorram 2000–2004
Mohammad Rahmati 2004–2005
Science Mostafa Moeen 1997–2003
Jafar Towfighi 2003–2005
Welfare Mohammad Hasan Sharifzadegan 2004–2005

Khatami is regarded as Iran's first reformist president, since the focus of his campaign was on the rule of law, democracy and the inclusion of all Iranians in the political decision-making process. However, his policies of reform led to repeated clashes with the hardline and conservative Islamists in the Iranian government, who control powerful governmental organizations like the Guardian Council, whose members are appointed by the Supreme Leader. Khatami lost most of those clashes, and by the end of his presidency many of his followers had grown disillusioned with him.

Over the last two decades, Khatami is seen as the only leader that sincerely tried to stay away from violence and oppression while fully believing in democratic values. The national pride has increased during his two terms of presidency. Khatami tried to draw a positive picture of the Iranians, which was extremely blurred.

President Khatami and Israel's President Katsav sitting next each other during Pope John Paul II's funeral
President Khatami and Israel's President Katsav sitting next each other during Pope John Paul II's funeral

During his presidency, many historic cultural sites have been destroyed or put under threat. The house of Master Kamalolmolk, historic Shalu Bridge, an ancient site from the Elamite era as well as several sites and artifacts dating back to the Stone age are a few examples of the historic places damaged during Khatami's presidency. Neither Mr. Khatami nor Hossein Marashi, who was appointed by him to act as "Vice President for Cultural Heritage and Tourism" tried to save Iran's heritage. Mr Marashi went to the point that he even defended the construction of Sivand Dam which would definitely lead to the flooding of Pasargad territory and wetting of Cyrus thomb. United Nation was considering to add Isfahan's famous square to the list of "world heritage in danger" as Khatami's second term was at its final months. His government was also silent towards the political action of National Geographic Magazine and some news agencies in Arab countries to change the historic name of Persian Gulf.

On April 8, Khatami sat near Iranian-born Israeli President Moshe Katsav during the funeral of Pope John Paul II because of alphabetical order. Later, Katsav claimed that he shook hands and spoke with Khatami. That would make this incident the first political contact between Iran and Israel since diplomatic ties were severed in 1979.[1] [2] However, after he returned to Iran, the country's state-run media reported that Khatami strongly denied shaking hands and chatting with Katsav.[3]

Khatami has met with many other influential figures, including Pope John Paul II, Koichiro Matsuura, Jacques Chirac, Johannes Rau, Vladimir Putin, Abdulaziz Bouteflika and Hugo Chávez.

Dialogue among civilizations

The United Nations proclaimed the year 2001 as the United Nations' Year of Dialogue of Civilizations, as per Khatami's suggestion. Pleading for the moralization of politics, Khatami argued that “The political translation of dialogue among civilizations would consist in arguing that culture, morality and art must prevail on politics.” Khatami has become an international personality, and he has gained much respect among intellectuals all over the world.

Personal life

In addition to his mother tongue Persian, he also speaks Arabic, English and German. He is married to Zohreh Sadeghi and has two daughers and a son: Leila (born 1975), Narges (born 1981), and Emad (born 1989).


In his "letter for tomorrow", He wrote: "This government is proud to announce that it heralded era where sanctity of position has been turned into the legitimacy of critique and criticism of that power, which is in the trust of the people who have been delegated with power to function as representatives through franchise. So such power, once considered Divine Grace has been reduced to an earthly power that can be criticized and evaluated by earthly beings. Instances show that although due to some traces of despotic mode of background we have not even been a fair critique of people in power. However, it is deemed upon the society and the elite and the intellectuals in particular not remain indifferent at the dawn of democracy, allow freedom be hijacked."

Khatami has written a number of books:

  • Fear of the Wave
  • From the World Polis to the Polis of the World
  • Faith and Thought Trapped by Despotism
  • Islam, Liberty and Development

Some of the awards:

Post-presidential career

On September 2, 2005, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed Khatami as a member of the Alliance of Civilizations.

See also

External links

Preceded by:
Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani
President of Iran
Succeeded by:
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
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