Iran Focus: Ali Ardeshir Larijani was the head of the Iranian State TV and Radio from 1994 to 2004. Prior to that, Larijani served as the Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance under President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani taking up the post from current president Mohammad Khatami. At the end of Larijanis 10-year term as head
of state broadcaster IRIB in May 2004, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appointed him as his representative in the Supreme National Security Council for a three-year term. Iran Focus
Age: 47 (born in Najaf, Iraq, in 1958)
Position: Appointed Representative of the Supreme Leader on the Supreme National Security Council
Ali Ardeshir Larijani was the head of the Iranian State TV and Radio from 1994 to 2004. Prior to that, Larijani served as the Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance under President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani taking up the post from current president Mohammad Khatami.
At the end of Larijanis 10-year term as head of state broadcaster IRIB in May 2004, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appointed him as his representative in the Supreme National Security Council for a three-year term.
One of the top commanders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and a top aide and advisor to Khamenei, Larijani is considered an ultra-right candidate. His presidency bid is supported by many conservative circles close to Khamenei.
His brother, Sadegh Larijani, is a cleric who is a member of the 12-man Guardian Council. Another brother, Mohammad-Javad, was Deputy Foreign Minister under Rafsanjani and is regarded as a top ideologue of the Khamenei faction.
Larijani is also the son-in-law of Ayatollah Morteza Motahhari.
Larijanis family ties landed him a senior position in the first months after the 1979 revolution, when he became director of the state television at the age of 22. He later moved to the newly-established Ministry of Revolutionary Guards, where he became the deputy minister.
Back in the top slot of the state-run broadcasting corporation in 1994, Larijani introduced Islamicised television programs, where foreign broadcasts were heavily edited and in some case removed altogether from long-time scheduling. He also censored much of the news, in particular about anti-government demonstrations. Yet defending the Islamic focus of his programs, Larijani maintains that they comply with “the policies and directions of the Supreme Leader”.
In Rafsanjanis administration in the 1990s, Larijani became a key member of a secret three-man team created by Ayatollah Khamenei to thwart the cultural onslaught on the Islamic Republic. The other members of the trio were then-Deputy Minister of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) Saeed Emami and Revolutionary Guards Deputy Commander Baqer Zolqadr.
The committee planned and carried out the chain murder of dissidents in Iran and several assassinations abroad. It also ordered the production of several television programs that were jointly produced by IRIB and MOIS to discredit the opponents of the clerical regime. When the murders and other activities of the trio became a liability for the clerical rulers, Saeed Emami was turned into a scapegoat and was arrested as a renegade official. The state media reported later that he had committed suicide in prison by drinking a hair removal substance.
In 2003, Larijani set up two Arabic-language television stations, al-Alam and Sahar, and a 24-hour external radio network, as part of a program to introduce Islamic values to Middle Eastern audiences. The stations have been blamed by Iraqi authorities for instigating violence. France has since banned Sahar because of its fundamentalist ideology and anti-Semitic propaganda.
In his own words:
Making any concessions on nuclear technology is tantamount to the biggest treason.”
(Fars News Agency, March 9, 2005)