Gholamhossein Karbaschi

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Gholamhossein Karbaschi
غلامحسین کرباسچی
50th Mayor of Tehran
In office
1 September 1989 – 13 September 1998
Preceded by Morteza Tabatabaei
Succeeded by Morteza Alviri
Governor of Isfahan Province
In office
20 September 1984 – 1 September 1989
President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani
Preceded by Sadeq Qorbani
Succeeded by Eshaq Jahangiri
Personal details
Born (1954-08-23) 23 August 1954 (age 61)
Tehran, Iran
Political party Executives of Construction Party
Alma mater Tarbiat Modares University
Religion Shia Islam

Gholamhossein Karbaschi (Persian: غلامحسین کرباسچی‎‎) (born 23 August 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 General Secretary of Executives of Construction Party.


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 earned a degree in architecture and in civil engineering 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 when he was the mayor of Tehran.

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 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.


He is also the manager of Ham-Mihan, a new reformist newspaper published in Tehran.[5] This newspaper was forced to stop publishing twice. Once in the collective ban of almost all reformist newspapers in 2000[5] and again in July 2007 after a very short period of publication.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Iran's Ex-President Backs a Jailed Aide The New York Times, 9 May 1999.
  2. ^ a b c The Case of the Tehran Mayor: Reform on Trial The New York Times
  3. ^ The World: The Mayor and the Mullahs; The Mouths That Roared in Iran. The New York Times. 26 April 1998
  4. ^ Middle East, Tehran mayor goes to jail. BBC. 6 May 1999
  5. ^ a b "Another Iranian paper closed". BBC. 16 May 2000. Retrieved 12 September 2014. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Sadeq Qorbani
Governor of Isfahan
Succeeded by
Eshaq Jahangiri
Preceded by
Morteza Tabatabaee
Mayor of Tehran
Succeeded by
Morteza Alviri