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A Year Later: Suppression Continues in Iran


Ayatollah Sadeq Ardeshir Larijani

Born: 1960

Hometown: Najaf, Iraq

Position: Guardian Council member and Head of the Judiciary

“Of course some offences were committed when [police tried to quell] the post-election unrest and some offences that took place in detention centers tarnished the image of the state.”




Ayatollah Sadeq Ardeshir Larijani is the brother of Majlis Speaker (and former nuclear negotiator), Ali Larijani as well as the head of the human-rights council, Mohammad Javad Larijani.

Larijani was chosen by Ayatollah Khamenei to replace Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi as head of the Judiciary in mid-August 2009, relinquishing his seat on the Guardian Council. In his current position, Larijani appoints the Chief Justice, the Prosecutor-General of Iran and judges, and proposes judicial legislation. Despite the fact that the head of the Judiciary is required to be a mojtahed (competent to derive new law from traditional sources) with significant experience, Larijani was only a middle-ranking cleric until a few months before his appointment.

Shortly after his appointment, Larijani moved Saeed Mortazavi, who was found responsible for the deaths of three protesters held at Kahrizak prison in July 2009 by a Majlis committee, from his position as Tehran’s Prosecutor General, to the be one of six deputies to the Prosecutor-General of Iran.

Before becoming head of the Judiciary, he was known primarily for being the youngest member of the Guardian Council, which is charged with interpreting the Constitution, supervising elections, and approving law and candidates in conformity with Islam. He is also known for his criticism of former-president Muhammad Khatami and Abdol Karim Soroush.

Larijani has said that any doubts about the June 12, 2009 election are “baseless” and that the protests which followed were “illegal.”

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Reports, Right to Protest, Imprisonment