Ali Akbar Velayati

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Ali Akbar Velayati
Member of Expediency Discernment Council
Assumed office
17 March 1997
Appointed byAli Khamenei
ChairmanAkbar Hashemi Rafsanjani
Ali Movahedi-Kermani (Acting)
Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Sadeq Larijani
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
15 December 1981 – 20 August 1997
PresidentAli Khamenei
Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani
Prime MinisterMir-Hossein Mousavi
Preceded byMir-Hossein Mousavi
Succeeded byKamal Kharazi
Member of the Islamic Consultative Assembly
In office
28 May 1980 – 15 December 1981
ConstituencyTehran, Rey and Shemiranat
Majority858,305 (52.5%)
Personal details
Born (1945-06-24) 24 June 1945 (age 78)
Shemiranat County, Iran
Political partyIslamic Association of Physicians of Iran
Islamic Coalition Party[1]
Other political
Islamic Republican Party (1979–1987)
National Front (1961–1970s)
Spouse(s)Shirin Khoshnevisan (1980–2003, her death)
Leyla Enayati (2007–present)[2]
Alma materTehran University of Medical Sciences
Johns Hopkins University
Awards Order of Knowledge (1st class)[3]
WebsiteOfficial website

Ali Akbar Velayati (Persian: علی‌اکبر ولایتی English pronunciation; born 24 June 1945, Tehran) is an Iranian conservative politician and physician. He is currently a member of the Expediency Discernment Council. Velayati is a distinguished professor at Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, senior adviser to the Supreme Leader in international affairs and head of the board of founders and the board of trustees of the Islamic Azad University.

He is also a member of Iranian Science and Culture Hall of Fame, Expediency Discernment Council's President of Center for Strategic Research, senior fellow of Iranian Academy of Medical Sciences, and also a former member of Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution. He is the secretary-general of the World Assembly of Islamic Awakening.

He was the Minister of Foreign Affairs for more than fifteen years from December 1981 to August 1997 under Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Presidents Ali Khamenei and Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. He is the first and only person to have held this position for over ten years. He was a candidate in 2013 presidential election and lost, coming fifth out of the six candidates garnering 2,268,753 votes, which was 6.18% of the votes.

Early life and education[edit]

Velayati was born in Rostamabad village in Shemiran, Tehran, on 24 June 1945.[4][5] He was matriculated into Tehran University of medical sciences in 1964. Velayati finished his studies in pediatrics before moving to Johns Hopkins University for a fellowship in infectious diseases.[citation needed] In the meantime, Velayati taught at university and was an active member of such influential body as the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution. He is still a member of Expediency Council and Islamic Encyclopedia Foundation.[citation needed]


In 1961, Velayeti joined the National Front, a secular party.[4] Following the Iranian Revolution in 1979, he was elected as a member of the parliament from his home town in parliamentary election of that year. He was also a deputy minister of health from November 1980 to July 1981 in the cabinet of Mohammad-Ali Rajai.[citation needed]

After winning the presidential election on 13 October 1981, then President Ali Khamenei proposed Velayati as his prime minister to the Parliament of Iran, but Parliament voted against him on 22 October. Khamenei later proposed Mir-Hossein Mousavi, who gained Parliament's approval. In November 1986, Velayati argued that Iran should have diplomatic ties with all countries.[6]

During the premiership of Mousavi, Velayati served as the minister of foreign affairs. After the election of Hashemi Rafsanjani as president, he retained his post until 1997, when Rafsanjani's term was ended.[4] He has been an advisor on international affairs to the Supreme Leader of Iran since 1997.[7][8]

AMIA bombing[edit]

In November 2006, Argentine Judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corra issued international arrest warrants for Velayati, six other Iranians and one Lebanese in connection with the bombing of the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) in Buenos Aires, which resulted in the death of 85 people and serious injuries to 151.[9] Velayati has been on the official Wanted list of Interpol since March 2007, for allegations of "Aggravated Murder and Damages" related to the AMIA bombing.[10][11][12] The arrest warrant is based on the allegation that senior Iranian officials planned the attack in an August 1993 meeting, including Khamanei, the Supreme Leader, Mohammad Hejazi, Khamanei's intelligence and security advisor, Rafsanjani, then president, Ali Fallahian, then intelligence minister, and Velayati, then foreign minister.[13]

Later years[edit]

Velayeti was appointed to the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations in 2006. He appears to be close to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, serving as his advisor on international affairs and writing the introduction to Khamenei's book Palestine. He attended funeral service of Imad Mughniyah, who had been killed on 12 February 2008, representing Khamenei on 14 February in Lebanon.[14]

On 30 October 2013, Velayati became head of Center for Strategic Research, being appointed by Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.[15] He was succeeded by Hassan Rouhani.

In November 2019, the United States Treasury Department has sanctioned Velayati.[16]

Presidential campaigns[edit]

2005 presidential election[edit]

Iran's conservative alliance considered Velayati a possible candidate for 2005 presidential election. Still, he announced that he did not accept the candidacy of the conservative alliance and would run as an Independent. He finally decided not to run. It was speculated that he did not want to run against Rafsanjani.

2013 presidential election[edit]

He announced his candidacy for the 2013 presidential election and was supported by some conservative groups. He promised a robust external relationship with community reconciliation and more diplomatic relations with Europe and the United States. He also criticized President Ahmadinejad's foreign policy.[17] He received 2,268,753 of the votes, coming in fifth place.

Personal life[edit]

On 12 March 2020, the Tasnim News Agency reported that Velayati had tested positive for COVID-19. He was reported to be under quarantine.[18]


Velayati has had a large number of books and academic works published, including:[citation needed]

  • Dynamism of Islamic and Iranian Culture and Civilization
  • Iran and the Question of Palestine
  • Iran and the Developments of Palestine
  • Historical Crisis of Iranian Identity
  • Intellectual Prelude to Constitutional Movement
  • History of Iran Foreign Relations under Shah Abbas Safavid I
  • History of Iran Foreign Relations under Shah Ismail Safavid II
  • Political History of the Iraqi Imposed War Against the Islamic Republic of Iran
  • History of Iran Foreign Relations under Nasser addin Shah and Mozaffar addin Shah
  • Tuberculosis
  • Infectious Diseases


  1. ^ Jedinia, Mehdi (26 August 2010), Ahmadinejad Faces New Conservative Challenge: Relations with Motalefeh party strained by series of disputes, Institute for War & Peace Reporting, archived from the original on 11 June 2017, retrieved 5 June 2017
  2. ^ تمام اطلاعات خانوادگی کاندیداهای ریاست جمهوری یازدهم
  3. ^ نشان‌های دولتی در روزهای پایانی خاتمی و احمدی‌نژاد به چه‌کسانی رسید؟ (in Persian). Tasnim News Agency. 24 August 2013. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  4. ^ a b c "Candidate Profile: Ali Akbar Velayati". Asharq Alawsat. 11 June 2013. Archived from the original on 1 July 2013. Retrieved 21 June 2013.
  5. ^ "Ali Akbar Velayati". IRDiplomacy. 23 January 2013. Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  6. ^ Hunter, Shireen T. (Spring 1987). "After the Ayatollah". Foreign Policy. 66 (66): 77–97. doi:10.2307/1148665. JSTOR 1148665.
  7. ^ Majd, Hooman. The Ayatollah Begs to Differ. Doubleday. 2008. 224.
  8. ^ A. Ehteshami (2002). "The foreign policy of Iran". In Lynne Rienner (ed.). The foreign policies of Middle East states (PDF). Boulder, Co. pp. 283–290.
  9. ^ Stephens, Brett, "Iran's al Qaeda", Stephens' "Global View" column, editorial pages, The Wall Street Journal, 16 October 2007; p. A20
  10. ^ Wanted profile on Interpol website
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 20 August 2010. Retrieved 20 August 2010.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ "Argentina: More international arrest warrants issued for 1994 Jewish center bombing". South American Political and Economic Affairs. 16 November 2007. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  13. ^ Barsky, Yehudit (May 2003). "Hizballah" (PDF). The American Jewish Committee. Archived from the original (Terrorism Briefing) on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  14. ^ Chalhoub, Elie (14 February 2012). "Imad Mughniyeh in Iran: The Stuff of Legends". Al Akhbar. Archived from the original on 29 September 2013. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
  15. ^ ولایتی جایگزین روحانی شد
  16. ^ Treasury Designates Supreme Leader of Iran’s Inner Circle Responsible for Advancing Regime’s Domestic and Foreign Oppression
  17. ^ Candidates profile Al Jazeera, 21 May 2013
  18. ^ "Top adviser to Iran's supreme leader infected with coronavirus: Tasnim". Reuters. 12 March 2020. Retrieved 12 March 2020.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Academic offices
Preceded by President of Center for Strategic Research
Succeeded by
Institute dissolved
Preceded by Chairman of Board of Trustees of Islamic Azad University
Succeeded by