Mohammad-Ali Rajai

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Mohammad-Ali Rajai
Mohammad-Ali Rajai picture.jpg
2nd President of Iran
In office
2 August 1981 – 30 August 1981
Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini
Prime Minister Mohammad-Javad Bahonar
Preceded by Abolhassan Banisadr
Succeeded by Ali Khamenei
76th Prime Minister of Iran
In office
12 August 1980 – 4 August 1981
President Abolhassan Banisadr
Preceded by Mehdi Bazargan
Succeeded by Mohammad Javad Bahonar
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
11 March 1981 – 15 August 1981
President Abolhassan Banisadr
Prime Minister Himself
Preceded by Karim Khodapanahi (Acting)
Succeeded by Mir-Hossein Mousavi
Minister of Education
In office
November 1979 – 12 August 1980
Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan
Preceded by Gholam Hossein Shokohi
Succeeded by Mohammad Javad Bahonar
Member of the Parliament of Iran
In office
28 May 1980 – 1 August 1981
Constituency Tehran, Rey, Shemiranat and Eslamshahr
Majority 1,209,012 (56.6%)
Personal details
Born (1933-06-15)15 June 1933
Qazvin, Persia
Died 30 August 1981(1981-08-30) (aged 48)
Tehran, Iran
Political party Islamic Republic Party
Other political
Freedom Movement (Until 1979)
People's Mujahedin (Until 1975)
Spouse(s) Ateghe Sediqi (1958–1981)
Children 3
Alma mater Tarbiat Moallem University
Religion Islam

Mohammad-Ali Rajai (Persian: محمدعلی رجائی‎‎; 15 June 1933 – 30 August 1981) was the president of Iran from 2 to 30 August 1981 after serving as prime minister under Abolhassan Banisadr. He was also minister of foreign affairs from 11 March 1981 to 15 August 1981, while he was prime minister. He was assassinated in a bombing on 30 August 1981 along with prime minister Mohammad-Javad Bahonar.

Early life and education[edit]

Mohammad-Ali Rajai house in Baharestan street, Tehran

Mohammad-Ali Rajai was born on 15 June 1933 in Qazvin, Iran.[1] His father, Abdulsamad, died when he was 4 years old after which he lived with his mother and brother. Rajai grew up in Qazvin, and moved to Tehran in 1946. After moving to Tehran, he had a close relationship with the anti-Shah groups and parties. He was known with Ayatollah Mahmoud Taleghani. In 1958, He moved to Bijar for a short period, but after a year, he moved back to Tehran and graduated with a degree in education from Tarbiat Moallem University in 1959. He became a member of the People's Mujahedin of Iran (MKO).[2] In 1960, he also joined Freedom Movement of Iran.[1][3] He was arrested by the Shah's forces for three times for his opposition activities.[3] Rjai was finally detained in May 1974, but was set free after four years.

Political career[edit]

Before the Islamic revolution[edit]

Rajaei spent his preliminary studies in Qazvin. His father died when he was four years old. He traveled to Tehran in 1948 and he was employed by the air force one year later. While he could obtain his diplomat degree, he resigned from the air force. During those years he became familiar with Ayatollah Taleghani and the Fadaeian group. He became a teacher in Bijar in 1955. He continued his studies in Tehran where he had the opportunity to get familiar with Mehdi bazargan and Sahabi. He completed his education in mathematics in 1959. He was a teacher in Khansar in 1960. He continued his education in the field of statistics at the master level meanwhile he taught in the school of Kamal in Tehran. He became member of Freedom Movement of Iran during 1962. He married at that time. He was arrested in 1342 solar and was prisoned for fifty days. After release, along with Muhammad Javad Bahonar and Jalal Al Din Farsi, he became concerned with political and cultural affairs. He was again arrested in 1352 solar because of co-operation with Mujahedin group and imprisoned for 4 years. He was finally released from prison in 1357 when the Islamic revolution if Iran was reached to last days.[4]

After the Islamic revolution[edit]

He was actively involved in the Iranian Revolution and was a leader in the movement to purge Iranian universities of American and European influences, which was later called the Cultural Revolution.[citation needed] Rajaei appointed to important occupations after the victory of Islamic revolution. The occupations were as follow:

Ministry of Education[edit]

At the beginning, Gholam hosein shokouhi was the minister of education and Rajaei was one of his chancellors. After Shokohi's resigning because of being sick, Muhammad Ali Rajaei was appointed as the supervisor of the ministry of education. He was introduced by Muhammad javad Bahonar and he became the supervisor of education ministry from 18th shahrivar month to 7th mehr at 1357 solar. Finally, Mehdi Bazargan presented him as the minister of education in his cabinet. His programs in ministry of education included fairly distribution of facilities, fair distribution of finance among staffs, reforming of centers of educating teachers, trying to create a suitable pedagogical system for Muslim society, developing of Islamic ethics among teachers and pupils, creating a good relation between parents and teachers and respecting to dignity of teachers according to Islam. These schedules were very important for Rajaei and he tried to realize them. He was in the charge of ministry for nine months. The most important achievements of him were the consistency of all schools and also trying to putting a way the discrimination and differences, changing of educating system. He also tried to change the contents of educational books and also made attempts in Islamization of their contents.[6]

Appointment as Prime Minister[edit]

Rajai and Prime Minister Mohammad-Javad Bahonar

In 1979, Rajai left the Freedom Movement.[1] Following the Iranian Revolution, he was appointed minister of education in the government of Mehdi Bazargan, and although Bazargan's cabinet resigned on 6 November 1979, he did not resign and remained in the post until 12 August 1980 when he became prime minister. Following the presidency of Bani Sadr, after 5 months, he nominated Rajai for the position, and parliament voted him in. He appointed Khodapanahi as foreign minister, Mohammad-Reza Mahdavi Kani as interior minister and Javad Fakori as defence minister. During his prime ministership, the Iran–Iraq War started and his government's first policy became the "victory and defence". He was in office until 2 August 1981 when he became the second president of Iran.


Bani Sadr was impeached on 22 June 1981 by parliament, and Khomeini held a Provisional Presidential Council by 6 people headed by Mohammad Beheshti and later Abdul-Karim Mousavi Ardebili. Rajai was one of the members of that Council. He nominated himself for the presidential election in 1981. He was the first president from the Islamic Republican Party after winning 91% of the votes. He officially became the president after the Oath of Office in 2 August 1981.[7] He named Mohammad-Javad Bahonar to the Parliament to become the next prime minister. Parliament voted in to Bahonar and he formed a new government.


On 30 August 1981, President Rajai held a meeting of Iran's Supreme Defence Council, along with the Prime Minister Mohammad Javad Bahonar. Witnesses later stated that a trusted aide brought a briefcase into the conference room, set it between the two leaders, and then left. Another person opened the case, triggering a bomb that set the room ablaze and killed Rajai, Bahonar, and three others.[8] This attack occurred two months after the Hafte Tir bombing. The assassin was identified as Massoud Keshmiri, an operative of the People's Mujahedin of Iran (also known as the MKO, MEK and PMOI), who had infiltrated the Prime Minister's office in the guise of a state security official. Rajai was buried in Behesht-e Zahra.

Political positions[edit]

His political programs were based on constitutional law with a position of privilege for Islam—he insisted on that those who would be in control of the state be Muslim. He also emphasized on the Velayate Faghih and believed that the Islamic government have to cooperates with revolutionary institutions like Islamic revolutionary guard, Islamic courts and etc. He respected the freedom of all peoples as far as those freedoms don't deny Islamic law. He also tried to create a consistent government in his tenure.[9]


  1. ^ a b c Houchang E. Chehabi (1990). Iranian Politics and Religious Modernism: The Liberation Movement of Iran Under the Shah and Khomeini. I.B.Tauris. p. 87. ISBN 978-1-85043-198-5. Retrieved 27 August 2013. 
  2. ^ Ostovar, Afshon P. (2009). "Guardians of the Islamic Revolution Ideology, Politics, and the Development of Military Power in Iran (1979–2009)" (PhD Thesis). University of Michigan. Retrieved 26 July 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Mohammad Ali Raja'i". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 27 August 2013. 
  4. ^ Amin Moarref (1361). "The biography of martyrdom teachers: Shahid rajaei". Roshde Moallem. p. 9. 
  5. ^ "پرتال جامع علوم انسانی - شهید محمدعلی رجایی و دوران پس از پیروزی انقلاب اسلامی". Retrieved 2017-01-10. 
  6. ^ "مرکز اسناد انقلاب اسلامی - کارنامه شهیدان رجایی و باهنر در وزارت آموزش و پرورش". Retrieved 2017-01-10. 
  7. ^ "Rajai Sworn In; Bani-Sadr Predicts Revolt", Pittsburgh Press, 2 August 1981, p. A-8
  8. ^ Facts on File Yearbook 1981
  9. ^ Ali Ahmadi (1384). "How created a consistent government". Gozaresh. p. 14-18. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Mehdi Bazargan
Prime Minister of Iran
Succeeded by
Mohammad Javad Bahonar
Preceded by
Karim Khodapanahi (Acting)
Minister of Foreign Affairs (Acting)
Succeeded by
Mir-Hossein Mousavi
Preceded by
Abulhassan Banisadr
President of Iran
Succeeded by
Ali Khamenei