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Who Is Mohammad Mokhber, Iranian Regime’s Acting President and Khamenei’s Man Who Stood in Raisi’s Shadows

Four-minute read

With the death of Ebrahim Raisi, the Iranian regime’s president and a notorious oppressor, his Vice President, Mohammad Mokhber, has come under global spotlight and scrutiny as he will claim the position of the clerical regime’s acting president. Mohammad Mokhber has spent decades working behind the scenes in the regime’s politics, looting resources and serving Ali Khamenei, the regime’s Supreme Leader.

Raisi’s crucial role for Khamenei

In 2017, Khamenei attempted to appoint Raisi as president but failed due to Raisi’s involvement in the mass execution of political prisoners during the summer of 1988. Following the ceasefire with Iraq that summer, an urgent fatwa issued by then-Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini led to the execution of 30,000 political prisoners, most of whom were associated with the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MEK/PMOI). During the 2017 election campaign, then-incumbent president Hassan Rouhani leveraged public fury about the 1988 massacre to attack Raisi. In one of his public speeches, widely distributed on social media, Rouhani said that Raisi knows nothing but running prisons and conducting executions.

Javad Mogouyi, a state-affiliated documentary filmmaker working for intelligence agencies, admitted in an interview with the state-run Etemad newspaper, published after the 2022 uprising, that the massacre of MEK members was a pivotal issue in the 2017 elections.

After Raisi’s defeat in the sham elections, Khamenei appointed him the Judiciary’s head in early 2019 to build up his profile and pave the way for his next electoral bid. Ebrahim Raisi played a key role in the brutal suppression of the 2019 uprising, in which security forces killed over 1,500 protesters.

During both the 2017 election campaign and after Raisi was appointed president in 2021, the Iranian Resistance launched multiple international campaigns exposing his role in crimes against humanity and committing genocide. Independent human rights organizations also called for an investigation into Raisi. In the last three years, Raisi canceled several of his international trips over fears of arrest and prosecution.

Who is Mohammad Mokhber?

Mohammad Mokhber, Raisi’s Vice President, has a significant and controversial background. He has held various positions within the Iranian regime, including roles in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) overseeing logistics in Dezful and serving during the Iran-Iraq war. Additionally, he has been involved in commerce for the Mostazafan Foundation (Foundation of the Oppressed), served as CEO of Khuzestan Telecommunications, and held positions as deputy governor of Khuzestan province.

Mokhber’s involvement in economic and governmental affairs has been marked by human rights abuses and support for the regime’s repressive actions. He was sanctioned by the European Union in 2010 for his role in acquiring materials for Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Moreover, Mokhber has been associated with the Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order (EIKO), a major economic conglomerate involved in confiscating assets from dissidents and funding oppressive policies.

In 2021, Mokhber faced further scrutiny when the United States blacklisted him for financing projects aimed at suppressing dissent and seizing assets from opponents of the Iranian regime. By appointing him as Vice President, Khamenei appears to have intended to consolidate power and ensure the implementation of his policies, despite international condemnation and sanctions.

As vice president, Mokhber has been instrumental in tightening censorship and control over foreign media operating within Iran. In April, new regulations announced by him stipulated that any media activities undertaken by foreign groups within Iran must be approved by the Ministry of Intelligence and the IRGC.

Mokhber’s role in Raisi’s cabinet is part of a broader strategy to create an “engineered economy” where economic foundations affiliated with Khamenei’s office can confiscate state assets for further looting and funding of the regime’s ambitious projects abroad, including the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

His close ties with the IRGC and the Quds Force, the regime’s extraterritorial military arm, facilitated the regime’s support for militant groups in the region and its meddling in the affairs of other countries under Raisi’s administration.

On August 15, 2023, Mohammad Mokhber announced efforts by the Raisi government to hold a show trial against over 100 officials and members of the Iranian Resistance. State media outlets quoted Mokhber as stating in a session, “Legal cases have now been prepared for the hypocrites [regime’s pejorative term to defame the MEK], and fortunately, the legal department of the Presidency in the thirteenth government has pursued necessary investigations in this regard.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, which surged just months after the brutal crackdown on the 2019 uprising in Iran, Mohammad Mokhber was tasked with managing the crisis. Despite Khamenei’s fear of inflaming public anger, the regime viewed the pandemic as an opportunity and prohibited the entry of reputable foreign vaccines.

Additionally, Mokhber was appointed to oversee the production of domestic vaccines, many of which proved ineffective and served merely to enrich pharmaceutical companies under the control of the Revolutionary Guards.

In recent years, the dissident group “GhiamSarnegouni” has released numerous documents implicating Mohammad Mokhber in efforts to bypass international sanctions and secure financial resources for the Iranian regime. One such document is a confidential letter from Mokhber, Raisi’s Vice President and head of the Sanctions Evasion Headquarters, addressed to the heads of the three branches of government on January 1, 2023, revealing these clandestine efforts.

Among these documents is a letter authored by Mohammad Mokhber, addressing Tehran’s relations with Damascus. In this communication to Khamenei, Mokhber acknowledges Syria’s debt to the clerical regime in civilian and non-security sectors, totaling approximately $11.6 billion by 2020. More documents revealed by the group showed that the Assad regime owes more than $50 billion to Tehran.

Another leaked document from June 2023 shows correspondence between Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Mohammad Mokhber regarding the establishment of a covert intelligence headquarters in Dalahoo, Kermanshah province.

Another disclosed letter from the same period reveals Mokhber’s communications regarding the allocation of $6 billion to the IRGC to suppress the people.

Conclusion

With Raisi’s demise, Mohammad Mokhber has officially been announced to assume leadership of the Executive branch. His long-standing allegiance to Khamenei and complicity in decades of criminal activity and exploitation suggests that the regime’s Supreme Leader, deeply concerned about the threat of revolution, will intensify domestic repression and global terrorism. However, despite anticipated oppressive measures by the regime’s security apparatus, the Iranian people, particularly the countless families bereaved by this regime’s atrocities, will find renewed cause for celebration and optimism, envisioning a future liberated from clerical tyranny.