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Politics

Who is Masoud Pezeshkian, Iran’s New President

July 6, 2024
Ehsan Mehrabi
4 min read
Massoud Pezeshkian, a candidate supported by reformists, has been approved by the Guardian Council to run in the upcoming presidential election.
Massoud Pezeshkian, a candidate supported by reformists, has been approved by the Guardian Council to run in the upcoming presidential election.
All reformists will now participate in the upcoming presidential election, but it remains uncertain whether they can attract undecided voters
All reformists will now participate in the upcoming presidential election, but it remains uncertain whether they can attract undecided voters
His unique rhetoric, status as a new candidate, and support from the reformists contribute to his appeal
His unique rhetoric, status as a new candidate, and support from the reformists contribute to his appeal
Due to his newness, his negative vote among the electorate is also low. However, as a doctor, within the medical community, opinions are divided; some reformist doctors disagree with him, while some conservative doctors support him
Due to his newness, his negative vote among the electorate is also low. However, as a doctor, within the medical community, opinions are divided; some reformist doctors disagree with him, while some conservative doctors support him
Another advantage for Pezeshkian is the absence of serious corruption within his family and the fact that his children live in Iran
Another advantage for Pezeshkian is the absence of serious corruption within his family and the fact that his children live in Iran
In the early months of the 8th parliament in 2008, Pezeshkian spoke in defense of the credentials of Salman Khodadadi, the representative of Malekan, whose credentials were rejected by the commission of inquiry on charges of "rape" and "sexual harassment"
In the early months of the 8th parliament in 2008, Pezeshkian spoke in defense of the credentials of Salman Khodadadi, the representative of Malekan, whose credentials were rejected by the commission of inquiry on charges of "rape" and "sexual harassment"

Masoud Pezeshkian, a candidate supported by reformists, has been elected as Iran's new president.

Former president Mohammad Khatami's boycott of the parliamentary elections in May appears to have influenced Pezeshkian's approval to run in the election.

Pezeshkian is emerging as a notable figure in the presidential race.

His unique rhetoric, status as a new candidate, and support from the reformists contribute to his appeal.

Due to his newness, his negative vote among the electorate is also low. However, opinions are divided; some reformist doctors disagree with him, while some conservative doctors support him.

Another advantage for Pezeshkian is the absence of serious corruption within his family and the fact that his children live in Iran.

Despite these strengths, he faced significant challenges. He was alone in the election debates and had the difficult task of persuading a diverse group of voters to support him.

Pezeshkian was not widely known in the public sphere until 2001 and the formation of the second cabinet of former President Mohammad Khatami.

Before the election in 2001, his name surfaced as a potential candidate for the Ministry of Health.

At that time, it was noted that he differed from other ministers in appearance and personal behavior, including his style of not wearing a suit.

Mohammad Reza Khatami, the president's brother, supported Pezeshkian for the Ministry of Health due to his disagreements with Mohammad Farhadi, the Health Minister in Khatami's first cabinet.

Reza Khatami, who was the Deputy Minister of Health for several months, had conflicts with Farhadi and eventually resigned.

In a meeting highlighting his combative spirit, Massoud Pezeshkian, as the Minister of Health, remarked: "When I was a student, I would slap the university president. When I became the university president, I would slap the president. Now that I have become a minister, I will slap Clinton in the face."

This statement led to numerous jokes among members of the parliament. He faced impeachment due to issues with appointments, drug policies, medical tariffs, and foreign trips.

Behzad Nabavi, deputy speaker of the Parliament at the time who rarely defended ministers, supported Pezeshkian.

The impeachment coincided with the attack on the Allameh University dormitory and unrest in Tehran.

Nabavi referred to these unrests, suggesting that the issues raised by the impeachers were not the country's most pressing problems and that representatives should "go to the streets and alleys" to see the real issues.

Ultimately, Pezeshkian retained the vote of confidence.

Pezeshkian did not hold a position in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government. In a later interview, he mentioned that during the four years of Ahmadinejad's government, officials earned enough working only two days a week to buy a house, and a garden, and support their relatives.

Pezeshkian cited this as one reason for his candidacy in the 8th parliamentary elections, stating: "These conditions affected me because I believed that we were not created to make money and spend it like that."

In the early months of the 8th parliament in 2008, Pezeshkian spoke in defense of the credentials of Salman Khodadadi, the representative of Malekan, whose credentials were rejected by the commission of inquiry on charges of "rape" and "sexual harassment."

Khodadadi's credentials review session was held privately, and Pezeshkian defended him on behalf of several representatives.

In the end, out of 248 representatives present, 149 voted in favor of Khodadadi's credentials, 77 voted against, and 17 abstained. His defenders argued he was acquitted of the charges, while opponents pointed to his arrest during the investigation as a strong indicator of the accusations' validity, arguing that proving rape and sexual harassment is challenging.

After the 2009 presidential election and the following protests, Pezeshkian's fiery speech criticizing the behavior towards protesters disrupted the parliament session for a few minutes.

In his speech, Pezeshkian quoted the First Imam of the Shia, who advised one of his governors: "Do not kill people like a wild animal." He also added, "When you can, don't intervene sharply, don't hit, don't strike."

Pezeshkian was elected as the deputy speaker of the 10th Parliament in 2016.

Pezeshkian was initially disqualified from the 12th Parliament elections in March this year but was later confirmed.

Some claimed he was approved by Ali Khamenei, while others denied this.

Regarding his qualification confirmation and the rumored recommendation by the leadership, Pezeshkian said: "I don't know exactly, but I heard from different places. They told me that you have no practical commitment to the establishment, which was irrelevant and could not be justified."

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