Ali Akbar Mohtashamipur

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Ali Akbar Mohtashamipur
Ali Akbar Mohtashamipur.jpg
Minister of the Interior
In office
19 August 1985 – 3 August 1989
PresidentAli Khamenei
Prime MinisterMir-Hossein Mousavi
Preceded byAli Akbar Nategh-Nouri
Succeeded byAbdollah Nouri
Member of the Iranian Parliament
In office
28 May 2000 – 28 May 2004
ConstituencyTehran, Rey, Shemiranat and Eslamshahr
Majority717,076 (24.46%)[1]
In office
18 February 1990 – 28 May 1992
ConstituencyTehran, Rey, Shemiranat and Eslamshahr
Majority225,767 (34.1%)[1]
Iran's Ambassador to Syria
In office
PresidentAli Khamenei
Prime MinisterMir-Hossein Mousavi
Personal details
Born1947 (age 73–74)
Tehran, Iran
Political partyAssociation of Combatant Clerics
RelativesFakhri Mohtashamipour (niece)[2]

Ali Akbar Mohtashamipur or Mohtashami (Persian: سید علی‌اکبر محتشمی‌پور‎; born 1947) is a Shia cleric who was active in the 1979 Iranian Revolution and later became interior minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran.[3] He is "seen as a founder of the Hezbollah movement in Lebanon"[4][5] and one of the "radical ... elements, advocating the export of the revolution," in the Iranian clerical hierarchy.[6]

In an assassination attempt targeting Mohtashami, he lost his right hand when he was opening a book loaded with explosives.[7]


Mohtashemi studied in the holy city of Najaf Iraq, where he spent considerable time with his mentor Ayatollah Khomeini.[8] He also accompanied Khomeini in the exile period in both Iraq and France.[8] He co-founded an armed group in the 1970s with Mohammad Montazeri, son of Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, in Lebanon and Syria, aiming at assisting liberation movements in Muslim countries.[8]

Following the revolution he served as Iran's ambassador to Syria from 1982 to 1986.[9] He later became Iran's minister of interior. While ambassador to Syria, he is thought to have played a "pivotal role" in the creation of the Lebanese radical Shia organization Hezbollah, working "within the framework of the Department for Islamic Liberation Movements run by the Iranian Pasdaran." Mohtashami "actively supervised" Hezbollah's creation, merging into it existing radical Shi'ite movements: the Lebanese al-Dawa; the Association of Muslim Students; Al Amal al Islamiyya.[10][11][12] In 1986 his "close supervision" of Hezbollah was cut short when the Office of Islamic Liberation was reassigned to Iran's ministry of foreign affairs.[13] He is also described as making "liberal" use of the diplomatic pouch as Ambassador, bringing in "crates" of material from Iran.[14] He was remained among radical hard line parties even when he choose as the minister in the government of Musavi.[15]

In 1989[16] the new Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani ousted Mohtashami from the Lebanon desk of the Iranian ministry of foreign affairs, replacing him with Rafsanjani's brother Mahmud Hashemi.[17] This was seen as an indication of Iran's downgrading of its support for Hezbollah and for a revolutionary foreign policy in general.[18]

In August 1991 he regained some of his influence when he became chairman of the defense committee of the Majlis (parliament) of Iran.[19]

More controversially, Mohtashami is thought

to have played an active role, with the Pasdaran and Syrian military intelligence, in the supervision of Hezbollah's suicide bomb attacks against the American embassy in Beirut in April 1983, the American and French contingents of the MNF in October 1983 and the American embassy annex in September 1984.[20][21]

and to have been instrumental in the killing of Lt. Col. William R. Higgins, the American Chief of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization's (UNTSO) observer group in Lebanon who was taken hostage on 17 February 1988 by Lebanese pro-Iranian Shia radicals. The killing of Higgins is said to have come "from orders issued by Iranian radicals, most notably Mohtashemi," in an effort to prevent "improvement in the U.S.–Iranian relationship."[22]

While Mohtashami was a strong opponent of Western influence in the Muslim world and of the existence of the state of Israel,[23] he was also a supporter and advisor of reformist Iranian president Mohammad Khatami who was famous for championing of free expression and civil rights.[24] Mohtashemi was in the Western news again in 2000, not as a hardline radical but for refusing to appear in court in Iran after his pro-reform newspaper, Bayan, was banned.[4]

Behzad Nabavi and Ali Akbar Mohtashami were among those who prevented by the Guardian council from taking part in the elections of Majlis.[25]

Attempted assassination[edit]

In 1984, after the Beirut bombings, Mohtashami received a parcel containing a book on Shia holy places when he was serving as Iranian ambassador to Damascus.[26] As he opened the package it detonated, blowing off his hand and severely wounding him. Mohtashami was medevaced to Europe and survived the blast to continue his work. The identity of the perpetrators of the attack is unknown.[27]


  1. ^ a b "Parliament members" (in Persian). Iranian Majlis. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  2. ^ "Patriots and Reformists: Behzad Nabavi and Mostafa Tajzadeh". Tehran Bureau. PBS. 11 August 2009. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  3. ^ Iran: Early Race For Clerical Assembly Gets Bitter Radio Liberty
  4. ^ a b Iranian publisher defies court BBC, 26 June 2000
  5. ^ Barsky, Yehudit (May 2003). "Hizballah" (PDF). The American Jewish Committee. Archived from the original (Terrorism Briefing) on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  6. ^ Ranstorp, Hizb'allah in Lebanon, (1997) pp. 126, 103
  7. ^ Ali Akbar Mohtashemi explaining story of assassination attempt and how he lost his hand. Iran Negah
  8. ^ a b c Sadr, Shahryar (8 July 2010). "How Hezbollah Founder Fell Foul of Iranian Government". IRN (43). Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  9. ^ Samii, Abbas William (Winter 2008). "A Stable Structure on Shifting Sands: Assessing the Hizbullah-Iran-Syria Relationship" (PDF). Middle East Journal. 62 (1). doi:10.3751/62.1.12. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
  10. ^ John L. Esposito, The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality? Oxford University Press,(1992) pp. 146-151
  11. ^ Independent, 23 October 1991
  12. ^ Roger Faligot and Remi Kauffer, Les Maitres Espions, (Paris: Robert Laffont, 1994) pp. 412–13
  13. ^ Ranstorp, Hizb'allah in Lebanon, (1997) pp. 89–90
  14. ^ Wright, Sacred Rage, (2001), p. 88
  15. ^ David Menashri (2001). post revolutionary politics In iran. Frank Cass. p. 48.
  16. ^ sometime after 17 August
  17. ^ Nassif Hitti, "Lebanon in Iran's Foreign Policy: Opportunities and Constraints," in Hosshang Amirahmadi and Nader Entessar Iran and the Modern World, Macmillan, (1993), p. 188
  18. ^ Ranstorp, Hizb'allah in Lebanon, (1997) p. 104
  19. ^ Ranstorp, Hizb'allah in Lebanon, (1997), p. 106
  20. ^ Foreign Report, 20 June 1985
  21. ^ New York Times, 2 November 1983; and 5 October 1984
  22. ^ Ranstorp, Hizb'allah, (1997), p. 146
  23. ^ "Iran opens 'largest' conference on Palestinian intifada"
  24. ^ "Reformist newspaper closed in Iran", BBC News, 25 June 2000
  25. ^ Anoushiravan Enteshami & Mahjoob Zweiri (2007). Iran and the rise of Neoconsevatives, the politics of Tehran's silent Revolution. I.B.Tauris. p. 9.
  26. ^ Javedanfar, Meir (24 November 2009). "Hezbollah's Man in Iran". Frontline. PBS. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
  27. ^ Wright, Sacred Rage, (2001), p. 89


  • Ranstorp, Magnus, Hizb'allah in Lebanon : The Politics of the Western Hostage Crisis, New York, St. Martins Press, 1997
  • Wright, Robin, Sacred Rage, Simon and Schuster, 2001

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Ali Akbar Nategh Nori
Interior minister of Iran
Succeeded by
Abdollah Nouri
Assembly seats
Preceded by
Majid Ansari
as Head of "Hezbollah Assembly"
Parliamentary leader of reformists
Succeeded by
Hossein Hashemian
as Head of "Imam's line fraction"
Party political offices
Vacant Campaign manager of Mehdi Karroubi
Succeeded by
Gholamhossein Karbaschi