Ata'ollah Mohajerani

Sayyid Ata'ollah Mohajerani (Persian: سید عطاءالله مهاجرانی‎, also Romanized as Atā'ollāh Mohājerāni; born 24 July 1954 in Arak, Iran) is an Iranian historian, journalist, author, and reformist politician. Mohajerani served as Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance of Iran under President Mohammad Khatami until 2000 when he was resigned from office for alleged permissiveness."[3]

Ata'ollah Mohajerani
Ataollah Mohajerani, 2012 (cropped).jpg
Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance
In office
19 August 1997 – 19 December 2000
PresidentMohammad Khatami
Preceded byMostafa Mir-Salim
Succeeded byAhmad Masjed-Jamei
Vice President of Iran for Legal and Parliamentary Affairs
In office
PresidentAkbar Hashemi Rafsanjani
Succeeded byAbdolvahed Mousavi Lari
Deputy Prime Minister of Iran for Legal and Parliamentary Affairs
In office
Prime MinisterMir-Hossein Mousavi
Member of the Parliament of Iran
In office
28 May 1980 – 28 May 1984
Majority122,678 (79.8%)[1]
Personal details
Born (1954-07-24) 24 July 1954 (age 66)
Arak, Iran
Political partyExecutives of Construction Party
Spouse(s)Jamileh Kadivar
ResidenceLondon, United Kingdom[2]
Alma materUniversity of Isfahan
Shiraz University
Tarbiat Modares University


Mohajerani received his bachelor's degree in history from University of Isfahan, his master's degree in history and Iranian culture from Shiraz University and his PhD in history from Tarbiat Modares University.


Mohajerani (first from right) as Minister of Culture with Ali Khamenei in Tehran International Book Fair, 26 May 1998.

Mohajerani's political career began in 1980 after the Iranian Revolution, when he won the first round of the parliamentary elections to become a representative of Shiraz and the youngest member of the majlis.[4] Later, he became the Parliamentary Deputy to the Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi, when he started to write the weekly column Naghd-e Haal in the Ettela'at newspaper, and then Vice President of Parliamentary Affairs under Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.[4]

As minister of culture and Islamic guidance, he officially announced and pursued a policy of "leniency" (Persian: تساهل و تسامح‎) towards the field of culture and arts and removed many restrictions. He earned the wrath of conservatives by allowing hundreds of new publications to start up, the release of fifty-some Persian pop music albums, and the screening of the controversial movie Two Women.[5]

He survived impeachment by the 5th Majlis which was dominated by the conservatives in part with a "daring" speech defending the principle of freedom of speech in Islamic rather than Western terms.

Why does the Quran carry the harshest criticism of the Prophet? ... It was not in the nature of the Prophet to stifle discussion of opposing points of view.[6]

In April 2000, however, he resigned due to heavy criticisms by the Iranian Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, because of his "liberal" policies. He also served as the speaker of the cabinet during that time. He later became the president of the Iranian International Centre for Dialogue among Civilizations,[7] but resigned from the post.

He was a member and a founder of Executives of Construction Party, which is considered a backer of Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

Mohajerani participated in the funeral and burial of former revolutionary Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan, when few Iranian officials dared doing so because of Bazargan's very unpopular status among the higher ranks of the Islamic Republic government.


Of the books Mohajerani has written, most famous are a "learned critique" of the Salman Rushdie novel Satanic Verses,[5] a book in support of Ferdowsi (and against attacks by Ahmad Shamlou), and a book on Zaynab bint Ali's role in and after Aashurah.

Personal lifeEdit

Mohajerani is married to Jamileh Kadivar, who is also a reformist politician and a former member of parliament.

Mohajerani left Iran and as of 2009 lives in England with his wife. They launched a website called

Mohajerani is "a vocal supporter of the pro-democracy Green Movement," and opposes violence against the Iranian government saying

If we answer violence with violence, we are no different from them.[4]


  1. ^ "Parliament members" (in Persian). Iranian Majlis. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Christopher de Bellaigue, The Struggle for Iran, New York Review of Books, 2007, p. 5
  4. ^ a b c Mohajerani goes to Washington PBS, Tara Mahtafar 20 October 2009
  5. ^ a b de Bellaigue, The Struggle for Iran, 2007, p. 7
  6. ^ de Bellaigue, The Struggle for Iran, 2007, p. 8
  7. ^ International Centre for Dialogue among Civilizations

External linksEdit