By Saeid Jafari, for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iran Business News.
With the Iranian presidential elections in May, rivals of incumbent Hassan Rouhani continue to assess possible candidates. In recent weeks and months, one new name has repeatedly surfaced in the Iranian media: Ezzatollah Zarghami (pictured).
The former director of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a master’s degree in industrial management. Born in 1959, Zarghami was appointed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and headed the state broadcaster from June 2004 until November 2014.
Zarghami, who was a member of the Muslim Student Followers of the Imam’s Line, was involved in the 1979 takeover of the US Embassy in Tehran. In an interview with Fars News Agency on Nov. 3, 2015, Zarghami spoke in detail about his involvement in the takeover.
Having joined the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War, he also spoke about his experiences during the bloody conflict, saying, “An important portion of my time in the IRGC was spent working in the military industry and producing military rockets needed on the front. The factory groups of Martyr Hasan Bagheri, which were launched from scratch, are today an important asset for the military industry of the country.”
After his time in the IRGC, Zarghami joined the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and later the IRIB. He has also served as senior adviser to the minister of culture and Islamic guidance, deputy for the provincial and parliamentary relations of the Culture Ministry, member of the IRIB Supreme Council of Policymaking and deputy defense minister.