Mohsen Rafighdoost

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Mohsen Rafighdoost
Rafighdoost in 2015
Tehran, Iran
AllegianceIslamic Revolutionary Guard Corps
Years of service1979–present
RankBrigadier general
Battles/warsIran–Iraq War
Awards Order of Nasr
Head of Mostazafan Foundation
In office
6 September 1989 – 22 July 1999
Appointed byAli Khamenei
Preceded byMir-Hossein Mousavi
Succeeded byMohammad Forouzandeh
Minister of Revolutionary Guards
In office
9 November 1982 – 13 September 1988
Prime MinisterMir-Hossein Mousavi
Preceded byMinistry founded
Succeeded byAli Shamkhani
Personal details
Political partyIslamic Coalition Party

Mohsen Rafighdoust (also Rafiqdoust, Persian: محسن رفیقدوست) is an Iranian Revolutionary Guards military officer and conservative politician. He is a member of the Islamic Coalition Party.[1]

Early life[edit]

Rafighdoost was born around 1940 in south Tehran. His family background is that of a bazaari, the traditional class of people who work in the bazaar.[2] His father was a fruit and vegetable merchant at the Tehran bazaar.[3] His family was very religious and close to Ruhollah Khomeini. In 1953, Rafighdoost was expelled from secondary school due to his pro-Mossadegh activities.[4]

Military career[edit]

Mohsen Rafighdoost was the chief of Ruhollah Khomeini's security detail in 1979 during the Iranian Revolution, and helped found the Revolutionary Guards who helped eliminate opposition to theocratic rule in the Islamic Republic.

He is noted for having driven Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the Revolution, from the Tehran international airport into Tehran, during Khomeini's triumphant return to Iran from France, while hundreds of Iranians crowded the road to welcome Khomeini back. He has told journalists this was the most important day of his life and "crowds were all over the car, touching and hanging on to it."[5]

He served from 1982 to 1989 as Minister of the Revolutionary Guards[6] where he quashed internal dissent and obtained weapons from abroad for the Iran–Iraq War.

Rafighdoost said in a 2014 interview that he twice suggested to Khomeini that Iran develop weapons of mass destruction to counter their use by Saddam Hussein. Rafighdoost claimed that both times Khomeini rejected the idea, reasoning that it would be against Islam.[7]

Business career[edit]

In 1989 he was appointed head of the Mostazafan Foundation or Bonyad-e Mostazafen va Janbazan (Foundation of the Oppressed), "the second-largest commercial enterprise" in Iran behind the state-owned National Iranian Oil Company[3] where he remained until 1999.

Since 1999, Mohsen Rafighdoost has been the Director of the Noor Foundation. The Foundation reportedly owns apartment blocks and "makes an estimated $200 million importing pharmaceuticals, sugar and construction materials."[8]


In 1995, Mohsen Rafighdoost's brother, Morteza Rafighdoost, was sentenced to ten years imprisonment for bank fraud.[9] After this, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei appointed a board of trustees and made the Bonyad-e Mostazafen va Janbazan subject to parliamentary scrutiny.[10]

Rafighdoost's personal fortune is said to be worth the equivalent of many millions of dollars.[2] When asked about his personal wealth, Rafighdoost has responded: "I am just a normal person, with normal wealth, but if Islam is threatened, I will become big again."[3]


  1. ^ Rahnema, Ali (February 20, 2013) [December 15, 2008]. "ii. Jamʿiyat-e Moʾtalefa and the Islamic Revolution". JAMʿIYAT-E MOʾTALEFA-YE ESLĀMI i. Hayʾathā-ye Moʾtalefa-ye Eslāmi 1963-79. Encyclopædia Iranica. Fasc. 5. Vol. XIV. New York City: Bibliotheca Persica Press. pp. 483–500. Retrieved March 15, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Kaplan, The Ends of the Earth, (1996), p.201
  3. ^ a b c Paul Klebnikov. (7 July 2003).Millionaire mullahs Forbes, Retrieved 15 May 2009
  4. ^ "A Bazaari's World". The Atlantic. March 1996. Retrieved 4 December 2022.
  5. ^ Kaplan, The Ends of the Earth, (1996), p.200
  6. ^ "Islamic Republic of Iran Crimes". Archived from the original on October 26, 2006.
  7. ^ Porter, Gareth (17 October 2014). "When the Ayatollah Said No to Nukes". Foreign Policy. Archived from the original on 5 December 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  8. ^ Frederic Wehrey. (2009).The Rise of the Pasdaran RAND Corporation. Retrieved 4 December 2022 ISBN 978-0-8330-4620-8
  9. ^ "THE CHANGE AT THE DEPRIVED FOUNDATION A CONCESSION TO KHATAMI?". Archived from the original on 2007-10-30. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
  10. ^ "On Mohammad Forouzandeh". Archived from the original on 2009-09-17. Retrieved 2009-09-05.


  • A Bazaari's World by Robert D. Kaplan March 1996 Atlantic accessed 15-May-2009, also in (with minor changes) Kaplan, Robert, The Ends of the Earth: A Journey at the Dawn of the 21st Century, Random House, New York, 1996