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Politics

A Mass Murderer Enters the Presidential Race as a Moderate

June 10, 2024
Ehsan Mehrabi
4 min read
Mostafa Pourmohammadi, who entered the Ministry of Intelligence in his 20s wearing a robe sewn by his father, is now contemplating a presidential seat
Mostafa Pourmohammadi, who entered the Ministry of Intelligence in his 20s wearing a robe sewn by his father, is now contemplating a presidential seat
Among the candidates, Pourmohammadi is closer to Ebrahim Raisi in one notable way: both were members of the "Death Committee," responsible for sending thousands of political prisoners to the gallows
Among the candidates, Pourmohammadi is closer to Ebrahim Raisi in one notable way: both were members of the "Death Committee," responsible for sending thousands of political prisoners to the gallows
His presence in the presidential election could significantly impact the debates. He is a presidential candidate, with his positions and information about other candidates resembling the situation of Hassan Rouhani in 2013
His presence in the presidential election could significantly impact the debates. He is a presidential candidate, with his positions and information about other candidates resembling the situation of Hassan Rouhani in 2013
He is also the general secretary of the Combatant Clergy Association and part of the traditional movement of fundamentalists and clerics
He is also the general secretary of the Combatant Clergy Association and part of the traditional movement of fundamentalists and clerics
Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani wrote in his memoirs from 1995 that Pourmohammadi met Saddam Hussein during a trip to Iraq
Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani wrote in his memoirs from 1995 that Pourmohammadi met Saddam Hussein during a trip to Iraq
The arrangement of managers in the Ministry of Interior did not please Ahmadinejad, and Pourmohammadi was forced to dismiss Ali Jannati and Mohammad Bagher Zulqader, his political and security deputies
The arrangement of managers in the Ministry of Interior did not please Ahmadinejad, and Pourmohammadi was forced to dismiss Ali Jannati and Mohammad Bagher Zulqader, his political and security deputies

Mostafa Pourmohammadi, who entered the Ministry of Intelligence in his 20s wearing a robe sewn by his father, is now contemplating a presidential seat.

Among the candidates, Pourmohammadi is closer to Ebrahim Raisi in one notable way: both were members of the "Death Committee," responsible for sending thousands of political prisoners to the gallows.

However, he is less popular than Raisi in many respects.

Pourmohammadi is the only cleric among the six qualified candidates and carries the most negative records.

His presence in the presidential election could significantly impact the debates. He is a presidential candidate, with his positions and information about other candidates resembling the situation of Hassan Rouhani in 2013.

He is also the general secretary of the Combatant Clergy Association and part of the traditional movement of fundamentalists and clerics.

However, he might play a role similar to Ali Akbar Velayati in the 2013 elections.

Mostafa Pourmohammadi became the prosecutor of Masjed Soleyman City before the age of 20.

He later served as the prosecutor of Susangerd and several other cities from the beginning of the war with Iraq until June 1981.

In the 1980s, Pourmohammadi joined the Ministry of Intelligence and represented the ministry on the "Death Committee."

This involvement was later highlighted in an audio file of the committee's meeting with Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri.

In recent years, while defending those executions, Pourmohammadi compared them to the actions of soldiers on the front line of a war.

In an August 2009 interview with Mosalas magazine, he said, "Is it expected that I will talk about legal debates and care for civil and human rights in the middle of the battlefield? I'm in the dirt and shooting, now a man has come to visit the front line there.

"The fighting force is not with me. I have a duty, and I must do it. I am shooting. Now this bullet hits a village in the middle, the enemy is standing on the other side, now you ask why did you shoot in the village?"

In the 1990s, Pourmohammadi became the deputy of Intelligence Minister Ali Fallahian.

Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani wrote in his memoirs from 1995 that Pourmohammadi met Saddam Hussein during a trip to Iraq.

Pourmohammadi remained deputy Intelligence Minister in Mohammad Khatami's government until the new minister, Ali Younesi, said he would not accept the job unless Pourmohammadi was dismissed.

During the controversy over serial murders in the 1990s, Pourmohammadi's name surfaced frequently alongside Fallahian.

One victim of these murders was Fakhrulsadat Borghei, the wife of Hossein Pourmohammadi, Mostafa's cousin.

Pourmohammadi denied that the perpetrators of the serial murders were part of an "espionage and infiltration network," stating that "the relevant part of the Ministry of Intelligence was not acting independently."

He explained, "To think that a group of people came and did this on their own, it was not like this. These had analysis. Now that there is an intrusion in this analysis, it was not proven."

Pourmohammadi also clarified that during the serial murders, "my domain was different and independent from the domain of the people who were accused in the serial murders, it was not my domain, nor were those people my employees."

In 2005, Pourmohammadi supported Ali Larijani but was supposed to become the Minister of Intelligence in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government.

He mentioned that he did not know Ahmadinejad personally and had only seen him once in a court session.

However, 48 hours before the introduction of ministers, he was considered for the position of Minister of Interior.

According to Pourmohammadi, he copied the programs of other candidates to develop his own for the Ministry of Interior.

On the day of the vote of confidence, fundamentalist opponents highlighted his controversial past and raised concerns that he might be arrested during foreign trips due to his involvement in the serial murders.

MP Emad Afrough reminded him that during his tenure as a deputy in the Ministry of Intelligence in 1993, "movements in Shiraz, Mashhad, Arak, and Mobarakeh were suppressed."

In defense of his performance, Pourmohammadi claimed that the Americans had admitted that the damage he inflicted on them during his deputyship had not been compensated even after 16 years.

He stated that during this period, the Americans had 30 spies in important political and military institutions and had prepared several areas for the landing of commandos.

The arrangement of managers in the Ministry of Interior did not please Ahmadinejad, and Pourmohammadi was forced to dismiss Ali Jannati and Mohammad Bagher Zulqader, his political and security deputies.

Ultimately, Pourmohammadi resigned from the ministry in 2008.

He then became the head of the Inspection Organization and clashed with Ahmadinejad during this period as well.

Before the issue of corruption in Ahmadinejad's government was widely discussed, Pourmohammadi revealed in a television program the illegal withdrawal of 2,000 billion tomans from the treasury.

He frequently spoke about the government's violations, prompting Ahmadinejad to remark in a meeting with MPs that "Pourmohammadi walks around cursing the government."

Following these comments, the government sued Pourmohammadi.

Pourmohammadi became the Minister of Justice in Hassan Rouhani's government. During this period, fundamentalist representatives like Mehdi Kochakzadeh spoke against him and the economic activities of the Ministry of Intelligence.

Pourmohammadi was initially disqualified and then confirmed in the election of the Assembly of Experts but did not receive enough votes.

Despite his limited chance for the presidency, Pourmohammadi's return to the political scene can influence the atmosphere of the election on June 28.

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