Head of Iran TV resigns after just 18 months

By Arash Karami for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iran Business News.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appointed Abdul Ali Asghari as the new head of Iran’s national television, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB). The previous head of IRIB, Mohammad Sarafraz (pictured), who resigned abruptly after only 18 months into a five-year assignment, faced numerous controversies and scandals during his short term as IRIB head.

In a statement May 11, Khamenei thanked Sarafraz for his “revolutionary efforts” and appointed him to the Supreme Council of Cyberspace. Khamenei also asked the new head of IRIB to focus on “attracting, retaining and training a revolutionary and skilled workforce and having an influential presence on social media.”

Asghari, who was previously a deputy at IRIB in charge of technology and a professor at the IRIB college, will become the sixth individual to head this organization, which has a $1 billion annual budget. He has been referred to as “the father of digital television in Iran,” for his work on converting the organization from analog to digital.

Before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Asghari was a follower of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran. He was arrested for his political activities by the previous government’s secret police and was in prison until the final days of the revolution. He held important posts within the Islamic Republic after the revolution, including adviser for the Supreme Council for the Cultural Revolution and heading the IRIB college.

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