Who’s Who in Iranian Politics
Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi is an Iranian politician and the present director of the National Inspection Organization. He was the Deputy Minister of Intelligence for international affairs during the tenure of Ali Fallahian, and Interior Minister during the first presidential term of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Pour-Mohammadi was born in 1960 in the city of Qom. He finished the Introductory and High Level (jurisprudence, principles of jurisprudence, and philosophy) courses in Qom, and extra-jurisprudence and principles courses in Mashhad, Qom, and Tehran. Pour-Mohammadi has also finished level four jurisprudence and Islamic Law studies (equivalent of a PhD). He has authored two books on political rights, the theoretical bases of political thought in Islam, and political and social issues. He has also written scientific papers on righteousness, the theoretical bases of theocracy, supervision, blasphemy, and foreign policy. Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi is married and has four children. His theological studies have reached the level of Ijtihad.
Between 1978 and 1985, he was the Revolutionary Prosecutor in the provinces of Khuzestan, Hormozgan, and Khorasan. Later, in 1986, he was appointed as Deputy Minister of Intelligence. Three years later, he was promoted to the position of Acting Minister of Intelligence, and in 1990, he became the head of Foreign Intelligence. In 2001, he was appointed as the head of the political and social division of the Supreme Leader’s Office. From 2000 until the present, Pour-Mohammadi has been teaching political science at Imam Sadegh University.
On August 14th 2005, he was introduced by Mahmood Ahmadinejad, Iran’s President at the time, to the Parliament as Minister of the Interior, but was dismissed from this post in April 2008. Hojjatoleslam Pour-Mohammadi was then appointed by Ayatollah Shahroodi, the Head of the Judiciary at the time, as the Director of the National Inspection Organization, and still serves in this post.
Pour-Mohammadi has played a significant role in revealing recent tumultuous legal cases, including the 3,000 billion Rial embezzlement case and the case related to the Iran Insurance company. He is among those who held high positions in the Ministry of Intelligence during the infamous case of the “Chain Killings”. Nevertheless, Shargh newspaper (in its Monday 8th of Esfand 1390 issue) quoted Mr. Pour- Mohammadi as saying that during the the Chain Killings, “My field of work was different and independent of those who were accused in the case of the Chase Killings, meaning that it was neither done under the order of my office nor were my staff involved in it.” Ghorbanali Dorri Najafabadi, the Minister of Intelligence at the time, resigned from his post following the statement of the Intelligence Ministry with regard to the Chain Killings.
Regarding his presence in the Ministry of Intelligence during the presidency of Mr. Khatami, he says, “I was still in the Intelligence Ministry, i.e. after Mr. Khatami became the president in 1997 – of course his presidency began in August – I was still holding the position of the Head of Foreign Intelligence until April 1999; it means that for a year and a half, I served in this ministry in the Khatami government. The reason was that the OIC Conference was supposed to be held and I had worked on it for a long time. Mr. Khatami felt that it was necessary that I participate in this matter, and asked me to remain in my post. This cooperation continued until the end of the ministerial post of Mr. Dorri Najafabadi. When Mr. Younesi became Minister, I left the ministry.”
When Ali Younesi was appointed Minister of Intelligence in the Khatami government, and following the Chain Killings, Pour-Mohammadi was dismissed from his post, about which he states, “ I remained in the Ministry of Intelligence for three months, during which Mr. Younesi had set a condition that if he became the minister, I would have to leave my post. Of course, Mr. Younesi intended to give me a position as an advisor, but I didn’t accept and said that if I was supposed to leave the ministry, then there was no reason for me to stay any longer. Later, since usually the Ministry of Intelligence sends a representative to the Hajj, that year he told me that since it was the last days of my work, I would go on the Hajj. He even asked me to follow the affairs of the ministry, as its representative. Therefore, in March 1999, I was in Mecca. After ten days when I returned, the farewell ceremonies were held.”
In reaction to accusations made against him in the case of the Chain Killings, Pour-Mohammadi states that the reformist forces of the Ministry of Intelligence were responsible for these killings: “Direct responsibility for the killings is pointed at the famous left-wing groups of the Ministry.” With regard to his connection to the case of the Chain Killings, the former Deputy Intelligence Minister noted, “This is an issue which the left-wing movement of the country used for its propaganda; when this movement intended to damage someone’s reputation, it would accuse that person of something fantastic. They called some people radical, some people thugs, and then the case of the Chain Killings was brought up. My dismissal was simultaneous with the resignation of Dorri Najafabadi. To present this matter to the public opinion, it was natural that they would use simultaneous dismissals in order to reach their political goals, and in their own words the removal of their rivals, while I was in charge of foreign affairs and had no responsibility in domestic issues.”
When Mahmood Ahmadinejad was elected president, Pour-Mohammadi’s name was once again mentioned in relation with the Ministry of Intelligence, and he was the first choice for this ministry until two days before Parliament was to discuss the issue of the proposed ministers for the cabinet. “I said to myself that since Ayatollah Khamenei has expressed his agreement, I will accept to be the Minister of Intelligence. On Friday night, two days before the list of the cabinet was to be introduced to the parliament, Mr. Zaribafan contacted me and said that Mr. Ahmadinejad had asked me to write my plans for the Interior Ministry. I asked him what he was talking about. He said that I had been chosen for the Interior Ministry. I asked him, how I would be able to prepare a written program for the ministry in two days? He said that Mr. Ahmadinejad had made his decision and had told him that he was going to introduce me as the Interior Minister. Apparently, and based on what I heard, Mr. Ahmadinejad had discussed the problem that he had had with the Interior Ministry and recommended me to hold this post, and Ayatollah Khamenei had expressed his agreement. Then, Mr. Ahmadinejad stated that he had asked Mr. Mohseni Ejei to be the Intelligence Minister, but that he had not accepted. It was decided that Ayatollah Khamenei would ask Mr. Ejei to accept this post.”
Therefore, Mr. Pour-Mohammadi became the Interior Minister until 2009 (for three years) until, in his own words, “I was told in early April 2009 that I had to leave the Interior Ministry but the farewell ceremonies were to be held 46 days later, during which I had to be present in the cabinet while knowing that I had to leave…”. Later, he was appointed as the Director of the National Inspection Organization.
After his dismissal from the Interior Ministry, especially during the past year when many of the supporters and colleagues of Mr. Ahmadinejad have become Pour-Mohammadi’s opponents, he has joined the ranks of the government’s opposition. His opposition has become so transparent that many believe that he was the main force behind the revelation of the 3,000 billion Rial financial corruption case, in which people close to Ahmadinejad (mainly Mashaei) are accused of having been involved. He is also believed to have pushed forward the case of the financial corruption of the Insurance Company of Iran, where Mohammad Reza Rahimi, the 1st Vice President, is accused of being among the main culprits. Thus, his relations with the Ahmadinejad government have been severely damaged. This enmity reached a point where Rahimi, the Vice President, accused Hojjatoleslam Pour-Mohammadi, the Director of the National Inspection Organization, of taking 21 billion tomans of government assets when he was dismissed from his ministerial post, and having never returned the money. Rahimi further stated that this amount of money with 4 years interest would amount to more than 30 billion tomans, and it was clear that “someone who accuses the government of corruption in students’ gathering is not pious, but instead commits sin and poisons the students and the society.” In reaction to Rahimi’s statements, Pour- Mohammadi has said that the mentioned 21 billion tomans were the loans given to 3,000 members of the staff of the Ministry, and now it was the new minister, Mostafa Najjar, who would have to answer whether these loans were repaid or not.
Pour-Mohammadi is among the Principalists whose name is mentioned these days as a candidate for the presidency. In this regard, he has said that, “If God wills and the atmosphere is proper, I will announce my candidacy for the president as a soldier of the Velayat. And when I enter the scene, I will propose my programs.” He further reiterated, “Anyone who intends to become the president must change the domestic situation of the country.” And further added, “Anyone who enters this scene must reform and improve the present situation, and this is a public demand and people expect the next president to take measures in this regard.”