Iran’s supreme leader on Thursday appointed former intelligence and security minister Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei as head of the judiciary, replacing Ebrahim Raisi after his election as president earlier this month.
Ayatollah Khamenei urged Mohseni-Ejei, a senior religious official with a long history in the judiciary, to fight corruption “with determination”.
Born in 1956, Mohseni-Ejei holds the rank of Hodjatalislam, a lower level than Ayatollah in the Shiite clerical hierarchy.
He is both Iran’s top prosecutor and deputy head of the judiciary since 2014.
“With your legal powers and valuable expertise, as well as the in-depth knowledge and brilliant precedents in judicial matters, I appoint you as the head of the judicial authority,” Khamenei told Mohseni-Ejei, in a message posted on his website.
He also urged him to “do justice (…) to ensure legitimate freedoms, to ensure the proper application of the laws, to prevent crime and to fight with determination against corruption”.
Khamenei also praised Raisi’s record in this post.
The ultra-conservative Raisi was appointed head of the judiciary by Khamenei in 2019.
Raisi won the first round of the presidential election on June 18 with around 62% of the vote, after his main opponents were disqualified.
The rate of participation in a presidential election has been a record since the creation of the Islamic Republic in 1979.
Mohseni-Ejei rose to prominence in 1998, when he was a judge in the controversial corruption trial of former reformist Tehran mayor Gholamhossein Karbastchi.
He later became Minister of Security, in the 2005-2009 first government of ultra-conservative President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but was sacked due to disagreements between them.
According to the judicial information site Mizan Online, Mohseni-Ejei was born in the central province of Isfahan, where he studied religion, before completing his studies in the revered Shia holy city of Qom.
He also holds a master’s degree in international law.
Mohseni-Ejei was one of eight senior Iranian officials added to the US sanctions list for “serious human rights violations” in 2010, following the crackdown on protests following the presidential elections the previous year.
It also faces freezes of European Union assets and travel restrictions for “serious human rights violations”.
He will be the seventh head of the judiciary since the 1979 revolution, with a renewable five-year term.
© 2021 AFP