The Two Schools That Educated Rohani’s Ministers

09 September 2013 | 21:42 Code : 1921153 From Other Media General category
An article published in the Mehr News web magazine
The Two Schools That Educated Rohani’s Ministers

A few days before the appointment of Rohani’s cabinet, NBC News reported on the presence of US-educated officials in the eleventh administration and mentioned the names of Mahmood Vaezi, Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh, and Mohammad Nahavandian. But the report did not mention Mohammad Javad Zarif. Nevertheless, this is just on the surface. Many of the officials present in Rohani’s cabinet have been educated in two famous schools, Haghani and Alavi.

Many members of Rohani’s cabinet have been educated in these two well-known schools which have played a significant role in the course of the Revolution. The Haghani and Alavi schools, which are known to educate diplomats, have impacted the lives of Rohani’s ministers.

The majority of the politicians of the Revolution have either studied at Haghani School or taught there. During the late 1950s and due to the change some intellectual clergymen, including Ayatollah Seyyed Mohammad Hossein Beheshti, felt was needed in clerical studies, these schools were established.

Based on statements made by Ayatollah Jannati, the current chairman of the Guardian Council and one of the instructors of this school, the lack of organization which existed in the Qom seminary and concerns about its collapse and the dominance of the former regime were among the elements which led to the establishment of Haghani School. Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, Ayatollah Beheshti, Morteza Agha Tehrani, Roohollah Hosseinian, Ali Fallahian, Gholmhossein Ejei Tehrani, even Gholamhossein Karbaschi and some other officials of the Iranian system are among those educated or those who have taught at this school. But there are other personalities in the Rohani administration who have passed the difficult educational filters of this school. Ayatollah Jannati’s son, who is now the Iranian Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, has also been educated at this school. Although Ali Jannati has studied at this school, his viewpoints are not similar to those of his father. He has said in this regard that “Ideological issues are not inherited.” His educational link with Mostafa Pour Mohammadi, the Interior Minister in the Ahmadinejad administration, led him to leave the position of Iran’s ambassador to Kuwait and become the political deputy of the first Interior Minister of Ahmadiejad’s cabinet. But he didn’t stay in this position long and he and Pour Mohammadi left for eight years until the election of Rohani as president, when one became the Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance and the other the Minister of Justice.

With regard to his education in Haghani School, Pour Mohammadi states, “This school was very well-known and was considered as the best theological school. The late Ayatollah Beheshti was the head of the school’s council. Ayatollah Ghoddoosi was the principal of the school. Ayatollah Javadi, Ayatollah Meshkini, and Ayatollah Mesbah were among the instructors. Ayatollah Jannati was also one of the directors of this school. All of them were among the prominent theological personalities and were involved in this school either in the administration or in teaching. Anybody who wanted to seriously study theology would have chosen this school. The first year that I attended the school I was not attracted to it and went to the school of the late Ayatollah Golpaygani. I studied there for one year and then returned to Haghani School.”

Ali Yoonesi, one of the clergymen who is close to Hassan Rohani and was mentioned as a potential Intelligence Minister at the beginning of Rohani’s election, has also been educated at this school. At one juncture, it was assumed that many of the graduates of this school were among the security officials of the Iranian system. Mostafa Pour Mohammadi talks about this issue saying, “The reason was that the late Ayatollah Qoddoosi, who was the General Prosecutor of the Revolution, invited some of us and a team of 15-20 of us went to work in his office. We became judges, prosecutors, and held judiciary positions. When the Ministry of Intelligence was established and Mr. Rayshahri became the Minister, some of us were invited to this ministry. Perhaps 5 or 6 graduates of this school went to the Intelligence Ministry.”

Alavi School is known to everybody for the time Imam Khomeini resided in it during the course of the Revolution. This school was also established at the same time that Haghani School was founded. In the political atmosphere following the 1953 coup, the founders of Alavi School had reached the conclusion that political work and following politicians would not solve the problems of the religious society and that they had to educate religious experts with the help of top university experts. The objective of this institution was very obvious from the beginning: competition with secular educated people, educating religious experts in most of the required university areas, particularly in technical fields and medicine, and to prove the point that there is no contradiction between religion and science and one can be both religious and educated at the same time.

A large number of the mid-ranking directors of the Islamic Republic in the 1980s and 1990s were graduates of Alavi School. Many of them entered the area of foreign policy. The most well-known personality present in Rohani’s cabinet who graduated from this school is Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Foreign Minister of our country. He was one of the best students of this school with a high grade point average. After graduating from Alavi School, Zarif continued his studies in the US.

Mohammad Nahavandian, the President’s Chief of Staff, is also a graduate of this school. After he finished his high school studies, he began clerical studies. He then entered the university and studied economics and obtained his BA degree. But he left his Master’s studies unfinished and joined the Revolution in 1978. Then, in 1985, he went to the US along with his wife and children to continue his studies in economics at Georgetown University.

Another well-known personality in the Rohani cabinet who also graduated from Alavi School is Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh, the Minister of Industry, Mines, and Commerce of the 11th administration. Nematzadeh studied the last two years of his high school studies at this school.

In 2006, a gathering was held on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the founding of Alavi School wherein many of the politicians and mid-ranking directors of the government were present. Gholamali Haddad Adel and Kamal Kharrazi were among the participants.


Originally posted on on Saturday, September 7, 2013

tags: haghani alavi rohani zarif