Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf

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Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf
محمدباقر قالیباف
Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf 3.jpg
Mayor of Tehran
Assumed office
17 September 2005
Preceded by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Personal details
Born (1961-08-23) 23 August 1961 (age 54)
Torqabeh, Iran
Nationality Iranian
Political party Islamic Society of Engineers
Spouse(s) Zahra Moshiri (m. 1982)
Children Elias (b. 1985)
Maryam (b. 1987)
Eshaq (b. 1990)
Alma mater Tarbiat Modares University
Occupation Politician
Profession Soldier
Religion Shia Islam
Signature Signature of Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf
Website Official website
Military service
Allegiance Iran Iran
Service/branch IRGC-Seal.svg Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution
NAJA.svg Law Enforcement Force
Years of service 1981–2005
Rank 17-Sartip - Naja.png Brigadier general[1]
Unit 21st Imam Reza Brigade
5th Nasr Division
25th Karbala Division

Deputy Commander of Basij

Commander of Aerospace Force of the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution
Chief of Law Enforcement Force
Battles/wars Iran–Iraq War

Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf or Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf (Persian: محمدباقر قالیباف‎‎, born 23 August 1961) is an Iranian conservative politician,[2] professor, a former IRGC Air Force and a Pilot of Iran Air and police commander. He is the 55th and current Mayor of Tehran, serving his third term since his first election in 2005. He was a candidate in the 2013 presidential election but lost to Hassan Rouhani, in second place with 6,077,292 of the votes. He was also a candidate in the 2005 presidential election.

He holds a Ph.D. in political geography from Tarbiat Modares University. He is also a pilot, certified to fly certain Airbus aircraft. He began his military career during the Iran-Iraq war in 1980. He became chief commander of Imam Reza troops in 1982 and was chief commander of Nasr Troops from 1983 to 1984. After the end of the war, he became Managing-Director of Khatam al-Anbia, an engineering firm controlled by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (also known as Sepah) and was appointed as commander of the IRGC Air Force in 1996 by Ali Khamenei. Four years later, he became chief of the Iranian Police Forces after the previous commander was dismissed following the 1999 student protests. He was also appointed as Representative of President Mohammad Khatami during a campaign to combat smuggling in 2002. In September 2005, he was elected as Tehran's mayor by the City Council of Tehran. He is also a professor at the University of Tehran.[3]

Early life[edit]

Ghalibaf was born to an ethnic Iranian Kurdish father Hossein Ghalibaf and an ethnic Iranian Persian mother Kheirolnessa Boujmehrani in Torqabeh, near Mashhad, on 23 August 1961.[2][4][5][6]

Early political career[edit]

At the age of 19, he was one of the commanders of the defense forces during the Iran–Iraq War. Shortly afterwards he was named commander of the Rasulollah division. By the time he was twenty-two, he was already commander of the Nasr Troops. After the war he was selected as Deputy Commander of the Resistance Force and Basij Troops under General Afshar. Ghalibaf received the degree of Major General in 1996 after he had completed a master's degree in Geopolitics. In 1998, when Commanding General Rezaie (head of the AGIR/IRGC) retired and Commanding General Safavi took over, he was named Commander of AFAGIR (Air Force of the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution). Ghalibaf is quoted[citation needed] as saying, "On that night I went home and told my family about my new position. My son laughed and said so they have named someone who can't even fly, as Commander of an Air Force. I told him don't worry, I'll soon fly Jumbo Jets, and now I am a co-pilot of Jumbos." In 2001, he received a Ph.D. in geopolitics from Tarbiat Modares University[citation needed].

Ghalibaf became one of the senior commanders of the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution (IRGC) in later years.[7] In 1984, he was appointed head of the Khatam al-Anbia Construction Headquarters, which is the engineering arm of the IRGC. Under his management, the headquarters launched a 165-kilometer railway connecting Mashhad to Sarakhs.[8]

Police career[edit]

As commander of the Revolutionary Guards Air Force during the 1999 student protests, Ghalibaf was one of the 24 IRGC commanders who sent a threatening letter to the reformist president Mohammad Khatami stating that if the protests were allowed to continue, they would take matters into their own hands.[7] Some years later in 2013 in remarks to Basiji students, Ghalibaf described his personal involvement in suppressing the demonstrations:

“I was the commander of the Revolutionary Guards Air Force at the time. Photographs of me are available showing me on back of a motor bike, with Hossein Khaleqi, beating them [the protestors] with wooden sticks….I was among those carrying out beatings on the street level and I am proud of that. I didn’t care I was a high ranking commander.”[9]

Following the 1999 protests, he was appointed as chief of the Iranian Police Forces by the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, to succeed General Hedayat Lotfian who was removed from his office during the violence. After becoming chief of police, Ghalibaf initiated some reforms in the forces, including the Police 110 project, which aimed to make the police more accessible to the general public.

According to Ghalibaf, he was instrumental in ensuring that the 2003 student protests were met with a firm hand:

“I went to the National Security Council meeting and raised hell, spoke very harshly. Didn’t observe proper protocol and I told them as head of the police, I will demolish anyone who would show up tonight on the campus to protest. Mr. Moeen and Zarifian [two other members of the Council] were opposed to giving us permission [to enter the campus], but with my behavior I intimidated them to get the permission to enter and also to shoot [at protestors]..”[9]

He was successful in suppressing the student protests in 2003 with his deputy Morteza Talaie, chief of the Police Forces of Tehran, and helped end the protests without any fatalities. In addition, he served as the special representative of then President, Mohammad Khatami, on the Anti-Traffic Committee.

On 5 April 2005, Ghalibaf submitted his resignation from the military positions (including the police forces) due to his intention to run for the presidency of Iran.


Police forces called many journalists and intellectuals like Aydin Aghdashloo, Bahram Bayzai, Houshang Golmakani, Behrouz Gharibpour, Kaveh Golestan and others to the newly established Amaken. Journalists Golmakani and Siamak Pourzand were arrested and put in jail for many months. Reformist Ahmad Masjed-Jamei, then Minister of Culture of Iran protested the arrests, but Ghalibaf stated that they were arrested because of "cultural degeneracy". He also claimed that Pourzand had had relations with exiled prince Reza Cyrus Pahlavi.

Kahrizak prison[edit]

Kahrizak detention center, a prison made famous during the 2009–10 protests, was established during Ghalibaf's term as police chief.

Moral Security plan[edit]

Ghalibaf also announced the Moral Security plan in the summer of 2002.

Mayor of Tehran[edit]

Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf

When Ghalibaf lost the 2005 election, he was proposed as Mayor of Tehran along with Mohammad Aliabadi and Mohammad-Ali Najafi. On 17 September 2005, he was elected as the next Mayor by the City Council of Tehran to succeed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who left the office after being elected president.[7] He received 8 out of 15 votes of the council. He was reelected for a second term on 12 September 2010 after receiving 12 votes with no opponent.

According to Bloomberg, he has used his position as mayor "to foster a reputation as a politician who gets things done."[10] Ghalibaf said his role in the suppression of the 2009 election protests while mayor was highly regarded by leading officials who later evaluated the response of various institutions: "Although the Mayoralty is not a security agency, we were ranked third in how well we responded…and this is amongst intelligence-security organs, not all state organs."[9] Ghalibaf seek for reelection as Mayor of Tehran as the Conservative's choice in the 2013 local elections. His rivals were Mohsen Hashemi, Masoumeh Ebtekar, Ali Nikzad and Mohsen Mehralizadeh. He was elected as Mayor for another term on 8 September 2013 after defeating Hashemi in a runoff with 51.6% of the votes.[11][12]

Presidential campaigns[edit]

2005 presidential election[edit]

Ghalibaf was a candidate in the Iranian presidential election of 2005,[13] and was being considered to be supported by some factions of the conservative alliance because of his popularity with both wings. However, in the final days before the election, the major support went to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Ghalibaf came fourth in the election.[13]

On 13 October 2008, he announced his support for dialogue with the United States as suggested by President (then presidential candidate) Barack Obama. According to Ghalibaf, "the world community, the Iranian society and the US society would benefit" from such talks.[14]

2013 presidential election[edit]

Ghalibaf did not run for presidency in the elections in 2009.[13] His adviser announced that he would take part in the presidential elections in June 2013 and he officially announced this on 16 July 2012.[13] Ghalibaf was one of the conservative candidates running for office.[15] In his speech during the announcement of his candidacy, he said:

“That's two things I still stand on and would seriously consider, first: the Constitution and second: respect the prisoners and detainees."

Ghalibaf speech in a campaign in Mashhad

He also set Love and Sacrifice and Jihadi Change as his official slogans. His campaign manager was Mahmoudi Mozafar, a current MP from Tabriz. His candidacy was approved by the Guardian Council on 21 May 2013 along with seven other candidates. He was one of the opponents of Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani's candidacy and says it was better that Rafsanjani not enter the race, as he had served two terms before. He and two other candidates, Ali Akbar Velayati and Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel, formed a coalition called "2+1". He was endorsed by former candidates, Alireza Ali Ahmadi and Sadeq Vaeez Zadeh. Ali Larijani, the current chairman of parliament, also supported Ghalibaf in the election.

According to the Guardian, his moderating streak as Tehran's mayor is evident throughout Ghalibaf's political efforts.[16] Ghalibaf received 6,077,292 votes (16.55%), putting him in second place behind winner Hassan Rouhani, who was elected as the new president.[17] Hours after the announcement of the results, Ghalibaf published a statement congratulating Hassan Rouhani on his election as President of Iran and conceding.

Electoral history[edit]

Year Election Votes  % Rank Notes
2005 President 4,095,827 13.93 4th Lost
2013 President Increase 6,077,292 Increase 16.46 2nd Lost

Personal life[edit]

Ghalibaf married Zahra Sadat Moshiri in 1982 when he was twenty two years old. Moshiri, born in 1968 joined her husband as an adviser and head of Women's affairs in the Municipality of Tehran.[18][19]

Honors and accolades[edit]


  • 1 February 2010: Transportation award[20]
  • 2008: World Mayor: 8th Best Mayor in the World [21]


  1. ^ Retrieved on 25 October 2015.
  2. ^ a b Middle East Correspondent, City Mayors'. "Mohammad Baqer Ghalibaf Mayor of Tehran". 
  3. ^ Members of the Tehran University.
  4. ^ "Life (زندگی)". Official Website (in Persian). Archived from the original on 17 December 2007. Retrieved 8 August 2007. 
  5. ^ "Mohammad Baqer Ghalibaf – Mayor of Tehran". City Mayors. 22 January 2008. Retrieved 17 December 2008. 
  6. ^ Scott Macleod; Nahid Siamdoust (13 August 2008). "Mohammed-Baqer Qalibaf: The Man to See". Time (Tehran). Retrieved 12 February 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c Kazemzadeh, Masoud (2007). "Ahmadinejad's Foreign Policy". Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 27 (2): 423–449. doi:10.1215/1089201x-2007-015. Retrieved 12 February 2013. 
  8. ^ Profile: Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf. (31 December 2014). Retrieved on 2015-10-25.
  9. ^ a b c Presidential Candidate Brags About His Direct Role in Violence and Repression International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran| May 16, 2013 (remarks circa early May 2013)| assessed 18 May 2013
  10. ^ Defying Iran Sanctions Propels Tehran Mayor Before Vote| By Ladane Nasseri || 4 February 2013
  11. ^ Ghalibaf reelected as Mayor of Tehran.
  12. ^ Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf becomes Tehran's Mayor. Retrieved on 25 October 2015.
  13. ^ a b c d "Tehran Mayor to Run in Presidential Election". Fars News Agency (Tehran). 16 July 2012. Retrieved 12 February 2013. 
  14. ^ "Tehran mayor welcomes Obama's call for talks". Daily Star. Agence France-Presse. 18 October 2008. Retrieved 17 December 2008. 
  15. ^ "Who Will Be Iran's Next President?". Radio Free Liberty. 6 January 2013. Retrieved 19 April 2013. 
  16. ^ Iran election: why Tehran mayor's popularity may harm his chances. Guardian. Retrieved on 25 October 2015.
  17. ^ "Hassan Rouhani leads Iran presidential election vote count". BBC News. 15 June 2013. 
  18. ^ همسرانی‌که برای‌پیروزی نامزدهای انتخابات می‌جنگند.
  19. ^ همسران نامزدها به چه کاری مشغول هستند؟. Retrieved on 25 October 2015.
  20. ^ حضور دبیر در واشنگتن برای دریافت جایزه قالیباف. (23 January 2011). Retrieved on 2015-10-25.
  21. ^ vom Hove, Tann (14 October 2008) Helen Zille, Mayor of Cape Town, wins the 2008 World Mayor Prize.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Mayor of Tehran