Mohammad Reza Rahimi

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Mohammad Reza Rahimi
Mohammad Reza Rahimi 2013 2.jpg
First Vice President of Iran
In office
13 September 2009 – 3 August 2013
PresidentMahmoud Ahmadinejad
Preceded byEsfandiar Rahim Mashaei
Succeeded byEshaq Jahangiri
Vice President of Iran
for Legal and Parliamentary Affairs
In office
25 May 2008[1] – 13 September 2009
PresidentMahmoud Ahmadinejad
Preceded byMajid Jafarzadeh
Succeeded byMohammad Reza Mirtajodini (Parliamentary Affairs)
Fatemeh Bodaghi (Legal Affairs)
Head of Supreme Audit Court
In office
1 November 2004[2] – 20 July 2008[3]
Preceded byKazem Mirvalad
Succeeded byAbdolreza Rahmani Fazli
Governor of Kurdistan Province
In office
17 October 1993 – 14 September 1997
PresidentAkbar Hashemi Rafsanjani
Preceded byHassan Zohree
Succeeded byAbdollah Ramezanzadeh
Member of the Parliament of Iran
In office
28 May 1984 – 17 October 1993
ConstituencyQorveh (2nd and 3rd Majlis)
Sanandaj (4th Majlis)
Majority107,666 (39.9%; 4th Majlis)[4]
Personal details
Born (1949-01-11) 11 January 1949 (age 71)
Serishabad, Iran
Spouse(s)Latifeh Erfani (−2015)[5]
Alma materTehran University
AwardsOrder of Khedmat.png Order of Service (1st class)[6]

Mohammad Reza Rahimi (Persian: محمدرضا رحيمی‎, born on 11 January 1949) is an Iranian politician who was first vice president from 13 September 2009 until 3 August 2013. His previous posts included governor of the Kurdistan province and vice president for parliamentary affairs.

On 15 February 2015, Rahimi was convicted of corruption and is currently jailed in Evin Prison. He was allegedly head of the "Fatemi Circle".

Early life and education[edit]

Rahimi was born into a Kurdish Shiite family on 11 January 1949 in a village, Serishabad, in Iran's Kurdistan province.[7][8] He received a law degree from Tehran University.[8] Rahimi also claims to hold a PhD from Oxford University but no record of his name has been found in the university and also this claim has been vastly disputed by many Iranian sources.[9] Rahimi is considered to be the second high-ranking member of Ahmadinejad's administration to have lied about receiving a PhD from Oxford University, the other being Ali Kordan. He has also claimed to have a PhD from Belford University, characterized as "just one of hundreds of diploma mills easily accessible online."[10] Alef, an Iranian site that belongs to Ahmad Tavakkoli, published documents purporting to show fraudulent documents created by Rahimi.[9]


Rahimi worked as a public prosecutor in Qorveh and Sanandaj.[8] He headed the city council of Sanandaj, too.[8] During this period, he taught law at the school of law at Tehran Azad University and served as head of the school for a short time.[8]

Rahimi was elected as member of the Parliament of Iran from his province of birth Kurdistan in Legislative election of 1980 as a member of Islamic Republican Party. He was in Parliament until 1992 when he resigned from his seat. He held many positions when he was an MP such as head of arts commission and a member of foreign policy commission. Then he was appointed governor of the Kurdistan Province in August 1993 by then-president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and was in office until August 1997 when Mohammad Khatami was elected as new president and named new governors.[7] Rahimi was not in Khatami's list of governors. During his governorship, he firstly met Mahmoud Ahmedinejad.[11]

Ahmadinejad named Rahimi as his vice president for legal and parliamentary affairs in 2008. He was appointed as the 5th first vice president of Iran on 13 September 2009 in a declaration by the president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and succeeded Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei who was in office for a short time.

He was acting president of Iran from 20 April 2011 to 1 May 2011 when president Ahmadinejad boycotted his official duties. He run for the presidency of Iran in the 2013 elections, but withdrew his candidacy in May 2013.[12] After the election of Hassan Rouhani as the president, his term ended as first vice president.

Corruption charges[edit]

Mohammad Reza Rahimi
Criminal statusConvicted
AllegianceFatemi Circle
Conviction(s)Illegal acquisition of illicit property and Bribe taking[13]
Criminal chargeEmbezzlement[14]
Illegal acquisition of illicit property[13]
Bribe taking[13]
Money laundering[13]
Penalty5 years and 91 days in prison
Return of 8.5 billion Iranian Rials worth of goods
Fined 10 billion Rials
Capture status
In prison
Partner(s)Jaber Abdali (alleged)[15]
Davoud Sarkhosh (convicted of bribing Rahimi)[13]
Date apprehended
15 February 2015; 5 years ago (2015-02-15)[14]
Imprisoned atEvin Prison
Further investigations on other charges is needed[14]

Based on the claims of at least two members of the Iranian Parliament (Majlis), Rahimi was the head of a corruption band that became known as Fatemi Circle.[7] This circle had an office in Fatemi street in Tehran. Naderan, a member of Majlis who is close to Ahmad Tavakkoli, has criticized the judicial system for not arresting him.[16] Motahari, another member of Majlis, has asked Ahmadinejad to cooperate with judicial system on this issue and called the accusations serious.[17]

In January 2015, Iran's judiciary announced that Rahimi has been sentenced to 5 years in prison and an equivalent of $1 million fine.[18]


On 1 September 2014, Rahimi was sentenced to a prison term and a cash fine, convicted of yet unknown charges.[19] The sentence needs to be finalized by a Court of Appeal for details of the indictment to be revealed.[20] On 21 January 2015, Iran's supreme court sentenced Rahimi to five years and 91 days in prison and fined him to pay 10 billion rials. Rahimi was also ordered to pay a compensation equivalent to 28.5 billion rials.[21]

Statements on Jews and illegal drugs[edit]

At an international anti-drug conference held in Tehran with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime on 26 June 2012, Rahimi delivered an antisemitic speech, at which at least 10 Western diplomats were present, blaming the Talmud for the spread of illegal drugs worldwide. Rahimi stated that the Talmud teaches "how to destroy non-Jews so as to protect an embryo in the womb of a Jewish mother" and that "Zionists" are in control of the illegal drug trade. He stated his "proof" is that there is not "one single Zionist who is an addict." The New York Times, which covered the conference marking a U.N.-sponsored International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, further quoted Rahimi as saying Zionists ordered gynaecologists to kill black babies and that the Russian Revolution of 1917 was started by Jews – although none, he was also quoted as saying, died in it.[22][23][24][25][26] Rahimi's statements, which subsequently appeared on the official presidential website, were also broadcast by the Fars News Agency.[27]


Rahimi's remarks drew sharp criticism from the international community.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, stated that "Here is yet another example of the fact that anti-Semitism is a pillar of the Mullahocracy in Tehran...on a day when nations are supposed to set aside their differences to combat illegal drugs, the Iranian government continues to malign the Jewish people and its religious traditions – all part of their ongoing campaign of demonizing the Jewish people and dehumanizing supporters of the Jewish state."[28] Abe Foxman, the National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, stated that "To all those who thought that anti-Semitism is a thing of the past, certainly this makes it very clear that it is alive and well again. What makes it more sinister and dangerous is the fact that it comes from a leader of a country that has vowed to destroy the Jewish state and is making efforts to obtain the means to do it."[23][29]

John Baird, Canada's Foreign Minister condemned the remarks, stating that "Iran's ongoing use of UN forums to harass Israel and insult Jewish people around the world is completely unacceptable. Canada hopes the international community joins us in speaking out against, and utterly rejecting, such ridiculous and anti-Semitic assertions."[27]

The European Union's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who leads nuclear talks with Iran on behalf of six world powers, released a statement, stating that she "is deeply disturbed by racist and anti-Semitic statements made by Iranian First Vice-President Mohammad Reza Rahimi. Such statements are unacceptable and should not be tolerated."[24] Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi also condemned Rahimi's remarks, calling them "Disturbing and absolutely unacceptable."[30] Alistair Burt, the British foreign minister for the Middle East, stated that "We condemn utterly the baseless comments from Iran's vice president Rahimi about the Talmud and the Jewish faith, made at a United Nations drugs control event in Tehran this week. Racism and anti-semitism are unacceptable in any circumstance, let alone at an event sponsored by the United Nations. We call upon Iran to correct this scandalous statement, and to ensure that its officials respect the proper international norms and standards in the future."[31][32]

Alun Jones, spokesman for the Vienna-based United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, later stated that UNODC attended the Tehran conference as well as related events across the world on Tuesday, as mandated by the U.N. General Assembly, and that it could not anticipate what the Iranian hosts would say.[24]


Rahimi reportedly "professed" allegiance to Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani when he served in his administration, despite the fact he later became his "outspoken foe".[33]

Naghmeh Sohrabi, a professor at Brandeis University, classifies Rahimi among "new guard" conservatives which came to mainstream political arena in 2005. She names Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Mojtaba Samareh Hashemi and Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei among the prominent figures of the faction.[34] He was a member of the committee composed of 15 figures from different spectrum of conservative factions that planned establishment of the United Front of Principlists in 2008 elections.[35] In November 2010, Rahimi was among 30 figures invited to a similar meeting of conservatives for 2012 parliamentary elections, although he did not attend.[36]


  1. ^ "با حكم دكتراحمدی نژاد صورت گرفت انتصاب محمد رضا رحیمی به عنوان معاون رییس جمهور در امور حقوقی و مجلس" (in Persian). International Journal of Government Auditing. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  2. ^ "New President of the Supreme Audit Court Appointed". International Journal of Government Auditing. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  3. ^ "Administrative Organization, Balance Sheet and Profit and Loss Account of Central Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran". Central Bank of Iran. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  4. ^ "Parliament members" (in Persian). Iranian Majlis. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  5. ^ ختصاصی دولت بهار/ مراسم تشییع و تدفین همسر محمدرضا رحیمی برگزار شد + تصاویر
  6. ^ نشان‌های دولتی در روزهای پایانی خاتمی و احمدی‌نژاد به چه‌کسانی رسید؟ (in Persian). Tasnim News Agency. 24 August 2013. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  7. ^ a b c "Mohammad Reza Rahimi". IRD. 27 August 2012. Retrieved 17 February 2013.
  8. ^ a b c d e Alfoneh, Ali (May 2008). "Ahmadinejad versus the Technocrats" (PDF). Middle East Outlook. 4: 1–9. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 November 2013. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
  9. ^ a b الف – رحيمی معاون اول احمدی‌نژاد شد Archived 16 April 2011 at the Wayback Machine Alef
  10. ^ "I-Team 10 Investigation: Diploma mills". WHEC-TV. 2005. Archived from the original on 26 April 2006. Retrieved 13 March 2007.
  11. ^ Farokhnia, Hamid (11 January 2011). "A Vice President Like No Other". PBS. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
  12. ^ "Iran First VP pulls out of June presidential race". Press TV. 13 May 2013. Retrieved 13 August 2013.
  13. ^ a b c d e "اظهارات اژه‌ای درباره پرونده‌های رحیمی، سیاسی، هاشمی و ممنوعیت نشر اخبار رئیس دولت اصلاحات". ISNA. 16 February 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  14. ^ a b c "Former 1st vice-president ends up in jail". IRNA. 15 February 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  15. ^ "معمای "ابدالی" و ۱۷۰ چک اهدایی در پرونده رحیمی". Hamshahri Newspaper. 12 February 2015. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  16. ^ "انتقاد نادران از عدم دستگیری رحیمی". الف (in Persian). 6 April 2010. Retrieved 28 January 2015. Check date values in: |year= / |date= mismatch (help)
  17. ^ "مطهری: اتهامات رحیمی جدی است/ احمدی نژاد همکاری کند". الف (in Persian). 7 April 2010. Retrieved 28 January 2015. Check date values in: |year= / |date= mismatch (help)
  18. ^ Erdbrink, Thomas (22 January 2015). "Former Iranian Official Gets Jail and $1 Million Fine in Corruption Case". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
  19. ^ "Former Iranian Vice President Reza Rahimi convicted of 'corruption'". Today's Zaman. Feza Gazetecilik A.Ş. 1 September 2014. Archived from the original on 1 September 2014. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  20. ^ "Iran convicts Ahmadinejad's vice president". Al Jazeera. 1 September 2014. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  21. ^ "Iran vice president under Ahmadinejad gets five years". Yahoo News. 21 January 2015.
  22. ^ "Iran's Vice President Makes Anti-Semitic Speech at Forum". The New York Times. 27 July 2012. p. A5. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
  23. ^ a b Iranian VP blames ‘Zionists’ for illicilt drug trade Archived 28 June 2012 at the Wayback Machine, Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), 27 June 2012.
  24. ^ a b c Israel accuses Iran of anti-Semitism after drug speech by Dan Williams, Reuters, 27 June 2012.
  25. ^ VP Blames Zionists, Talmud for Growing Drug Trade in World Archived 6 January 2013 at the Wayback Machine, Fars News Agency, 26 June 2012 (News number: 9103083782).
  26. ^ Iranian VP: Zionists, Talmud behind the international illicit drug trade by Natasha Mozgovaya, Haaretz, 27 June 2012.
  27. ^ a b Top Iranian official’s anti-Semitic remarks draw condemnation from Canada by Paul Koring, The Globe and Mail, 29 June 2012.
  28. ^ Tehran's Newest Anti-Semitic Rant: Zionists and The Talmud Use Global Drug Trafficking to Destroy Non-Jews, Simon Wiesenthal Center, 26 June 2012.
  29. ^ Alan Dershowitz: Iran Declares War Against the Jewish People Alan M. Dershowitz, Jewish Press, 28 June 2012.
  30. ^ International officials ask Iran to refrain from anti-Semitic statements Michael Astor, The Associated Press (republished in The Gazette (Montreal)) 28 June 2012.
  31. ^ UK condemns Iranian vice president for anti-semitic remarks, The Guardian, 28 June 2012.
  32. ^ Iran's Vice-President Mohammad-Reza Rahimi Remarks Condemned As 'Anti-Semitic', HuffPost, 28 June 2012.
  33. ^ Hamid Farokhnia (11 January 2011), "A Vice President Like No Other", Tehran Bureau, PBS, retrieved 20 August 2017
  34. ^ Naghmeh Sohrabi (July 2012), "Reading the Tea Leaves: Iranian Domestic Politics and the Presidential Election of 2013" (PDF), Middle East Brief, Brandeis University (65)
  35. ^ "Conflicts over resuming the political life of the United Front of Principlists", Donya-e-Eqtesad (in Persian), 5 May 2008, DEN-450933, retrieved 20 August 2017 – via Alef
  36. ^ "How much did Ahmadinejad administration interfere in the elections?", KhabarOnline (in Persian), 7 May 2015, 414391, retrieved 20 August 2017
Political offices
Preceded by
Hassan Zohree
Governor of Kurdistan Province
Succeeded by
Abdollah Ramezanzadeh
Preceded by
Majid Jafarzadeh
Vice President of Iran for Legal and Parliamentary Affairs
Succeeded by
Mohammad Reza Mirtajodini
Preceded by
Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei
First Vice President of Iran
Succeeded by
Eshaq Jahangiri