Gholamhossein Karbaschi

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Gholamhossein Karbaschi
غلامحسین کرباسچی
Karbaschi.jpg
Leader of Executives of Construction Party
Incumbent
Assumed office
18 August 2013
Deputy Hossein Marashi
Preceded by Mohammad-Ali Najafi
In office
3 December 1996 – 1 April 2011
Deputy Mohammad Hashemi
Preceded by Mohammad Hashemi
Succeeded by Mohammad-Ali Najafi
50th Mayor of Tehran
In office
1 September 1989 – 13 September 1998
Deputy Morteza Alviri
Preceded by Morteza Tabatabaei
Succeeded by Morteza Alviri
Governor of Isfahan Province
In office
20 September 1984 – 1 September 1989
Preceded by Sadeq Qorbani
Succeeded by Eshaq Jahangiri
Personal details
Born (1954-08-23) August 23, 1954 (age 59)
Tehran, Iran
Political party Executives of Construction Party
Alma mater Tarbiat Modares University
Religion Shia Islam

Gholamhossein Karbaschi (Persian: غلامحسین کرباسچی‎) (born August 23, 1954) is an Iranian politician who was the Mayor of Tehran from 1989 until 1998. He is considered politically reformist and is a close ally of former president Mohammad Khatami. He was arrested, tried convicted and imprisoned on corruption charges in what the New York Times claimed "was widely seen among moderates as a politically motivated attack" by the Government's conservatives and hard-liners to thwart President Mohammad Khatami's reformist agenda.[1] He is currently leader of Executives of Construction Party since 18 August 2013. He held the leadership of the party first from 1996 until 2011 when he was replaced with Mohammad-Ali Najafi.

Background[edit]

Karbaschi was trained as a cleric in the holy city of Qom and spent time in Evin prison for his political activities before the Islamic Revolution.[2] He has a degree in architecture and in civil engineering earned in Italy.

Karbaschi was a driving force for many new modernization efforts. As the Mayor of Tehran he was known for having bulldozed apartment buildings and office buildings built without city approval, removed revolutionary graffiti from walls, planted thousands of trees, banned much of the private traffic in central Tehran and opened more than a hundred parks. Karbaschi also angered bazaar merchants by raising taxes and contributing to the city's soaring real estate prices, earning him the reputation during his time as mayor of "the most loved and hated man in Tehran."[2] He started the first Iranian full colour newspaper, Hamshahri, while mayor.

Karbaschi was one of the key supporters of President Mohammad Khatami's first presidential election campaign which lead to Khatami's landslide victory (1997). After Mohammad Khatami's victory, a power struggle started within the political establishment of Iran between the reformists and conservatives of the Iranian government. Karbaschi's arrest in April 1998 prompted thousands of student demonstrators to clash with riot police, and the Interior Minister (who was later arrested for sacrilege) to complain that he had not been informed of the arrest despite that fact that Karbaschi was a member of the president's cabinet in addition to being mayor of Iran's capital and largest city.[3]

Trial and imprisonment[edit]

The prosecution of Karbaschi was called "the most prominent part of a campaign" by Iranian clerical conservatives "to thwart the reformist administration" of President Mohammad Khatami, rather than an honest attempt to "uncover and punish" financial corruption. The trial was often "a heated debate — at times a shouting match" — between judge Gholam Hossein Mohseni-Ejehei and Karbaschi, who holds the same clerical rank as Ejei. The trial "captured record audiences" while being broadcast on Iranian television, and was "debated in detail" in Iran's press.[2]

In July 1998 Karbaschi was convicted of corruption and misuse of funds and began serving a two-year sentence in May 1999, "despite last-ditch efforts by his supporters"[1] including a petition "signed by more than 130 members of parliament — nearly half the chamber" — asking supreme leader Ali Khamenei for a pardon.[4] In January 2000 Khamenei agreed to decree his amnesty.

Post-release[edit]

Karbaschi served as the Secretary-General of Executives of Construction Party before and after his prison sentence until 2011 when he was replaced with Mohammad-Ali Najafi. He currently posts in several blogs and has a Twitter account with over 10000 followers.

He is also the manager of Ham-Mihan, a new reformist newspaper published in Tehran. This newspaper was forced to stop publishing twice. Once in the collective ban of almost all reformist newspapers in 2000 and again in July 2007 after a very short period of publication.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Sadeq Qorbani
Governor of Isfahan
1984–1989
Succeeded by
Eshaq Jahangiri
Preceded by
Morteza Tabatabaee
Mayor of Tehran
1989–1998
Succeeded by
Morteza Alviri
Party political offices
Preceded by
Mohammad Hashemi Rafsanjani
Leader of Executives of Construction Party
1996–2011
Succeeded by
Mohammad-Ali Najafi
Preceded by
Mohammad-Ali Najafi
Leader of Executives of Construction Party
2013–present
Succeeded by
Incumbent