Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi

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Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi011 (2).jpg
Chairman of Expediency Discernment Council
In office
14 August 2017 24 December 2018
Appointed by Ali Khamenei
Preceded by Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani
Succeeded by Sadeq Larijani
Chairman of the Assembly of Experts
In office
21 October 2014 10 March 2015
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei
Preceded by Reza Mahdavi Kani
Succeeded by Mohammad Yazdi
Chief Justice of Iran
In office
14 August 1999 14 August 2009
Appointed by Ali Khamenei
Preceded by Mohammad Yazdi
Succeeded by Sadeq Larijani
Member of Assembly of Experts
In office
24 February 1999 24 December 2018
Constituency Razavi Khorasan Province
Personal details
Born(1948-08-15)15 August 1948
Najaf, Iraq
Died24 December 2018(2018-12-24) (aged 70) [1]
Tehran, Iran
Citizenship Iranian and Iraqi [2]
Political party Society of Seminary Teachers of Qom
Islamic Dawa Party
Website Personal website

Sayyid Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi (Persian : سید محمود هاشمی شاهرودی, 15 August 1948 – 24 December 2018) was an Iranian Twelver Shia cleric and conservative politician who was the Chairman of the Expediency Discernment Council from 14 August 2017 until his death on 24 December 2018. He was previously the Chief Justice of Iran from 1999 to 2009.

Persian language Western Iranian language

Persian, also known by its endonym Farsi, is one of the Western Iranian languages within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family. It is a pluricentric language primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and some other regions which historically were Persianate societies and considered part of Greater Iran. It is written right to left in the Persian alphabet, a modified variant of the Arabic script.

Iran Country in Western Asia

Iran, also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. With over 81 million inhabitants, Iran is the world's 18th most populous country. Its territory spans 1,648,195 km2 (636,372 sq mi), making it the second largest country in the Middle East and the 17th largest in the world. Iran is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and to the west by Turkey and Iraq. Its central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, and its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, give it geostrategic importance. Tehran is the capital, largest city, and leading economic and cultural center.

Twelver Type of Shia Islam

Twelver or Imamiyyah is the largest branch of Shia Islam. The term Twelver refers to its adherents' belief in twelve divinely ordained leaders, known as the Twelve Imams, and their belief that the last Imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi, lives in occultation and will reappear as the promised Mahdi. According to Shia tradition, the Mahdi's tenure will coincide with the Second Coming of Jesus Christ (Isa), who is to assist the Mahdi against the Masih ad-Dajjal.


He was also an Iraqi citizen and a former member of the Islamic Dawa Party. [2] Shahroudi's official English-language biographical information from the Iranian Assembly of Experts' website opens with his education received in Najaf, Iraq from Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr, the Islamic Dawa Party Founder, and takes the view that al-Sadr was killed; al-Sadr was executed without trial by Saddam Hussein's regime in April 1980. [3] Hashemi Shahroudi became the leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, which caused objections to his serving as the Head of Iran's Judiciary. He was a member of Iran's Guardian Council.

Islamic Dawa Party political party

The Islamic Dawa Party, also known as the Islamic Call Party, is a political party in Iraq. Dawa and the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council are two of the main parties in the religious-Shiite United Iraqi Alliance, which won a plurality of seats in both the provisional January 2005 Iraqi election and the longer-term December 2005 election. The party is led by Haider al-Abadi, who has been Prime Minister of Iraq since 8 September 2014. The party backed the Iranian Revolution and also Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini during the Iran–Iraq War and the group still receives financial support from Tehran despite ideological differences with the Islamic Republic.

Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr Iraqi ayatollah seed

Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr was an Iraqi Shia cleric, philosopher, and the ideological founder of the Islamic Dawa Party, born in al-Kazimiya, Iraq. He was father-in-law to Muqtada al-Sadr, a cousin of Muhammad Sadeq al-Sadr and Imam Musa as-Sadr. His father Haydar al-Sadr was a well-respected high-ranking Shi'a cleric. His lineage can be traced back to Muhammad through the seventh Shia Imam Musa al-Kazim. Muhammad Baqir Al-Sadr was executed in 1980 by the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Saddam Hussein Iraqi politician and President

Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was President of Iraq from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003. A leading member of the revolutionary Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party, and later, the Baghdad-based Ba'ath Party and its regional organization the Iraqi Ba'ath Party—which espoused Ba'athism, a mix of Arab nationalism and socialism—Saddam played a key role in the 1968 coup that brought the party to power in Iraq.

Upon accepting his position as the Head of Iran's Judiciary, Shahroudi proclaimed: "I have inherited an utter ruin from the previous judiciary," referring to Mohammad Yazdi's 10 years in office. [4] [5] He appointed Saeed Mortazavi, a well known fundamentalist and controversial figure, prosecutor general of Iran. Later when Mortazavi led the judiciary against Khatami's reform movement, Shahroudi was prevented by regime hardliners from stopping Mortazavi's violent acts against dissidents or removing him from power. [6] In July 2011 Shahroudi was appointed by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to head an arbitration body to resolve an ongoing dispute between Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the parliament. [7] He was a favorite as one of the potential successors of Ali Khamenei as Supreme Leader of Iran. [8]

Mohammad Yazdi iranian ayatollah

Mohammad Yazdi is an Iranian cleric who served as the head of Judiciary System of Iran between 1989 and 1999. In 2015, he was elected to lead Iran's Assembly of Experts, defeating Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former president, by a vote count of 47 to 24.

Saeed Mortazavi Iranian jurist

Saeed Mortazavi is an Iranian conservative politician, former judge and former prosecutor. He was prosecutor of the Islamic Revolutionary Court, and Prosecutor General of Tehran, a position he held from 2003 to 2009. He has been called as "butcher of the press" and "torturer of Tehran" by some observers. Mortazavi has been accused of the torture and death in custody of Iranian-Canadian photographer Zahra Kazemi by the Canadian government and was named by 2010 Iranian parliamentary report as the man responsible for abuse of dozens and death of three political prisoners at Kahrizak detention center in 2009. He was put on trial in February 2013 after a parliamentary committee blamed him for the torture and deaths of at least three detainees who participated in the protests against President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's reelection. On 15 November 2014, he was banned from all political and legal positions for life.

Ali Khamenei Iranian Shiite faqih, Marja and official independent islamic leader

Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei is a marja and the second and current Supreme Leader of Iran, in office since 1989. He was previously President of Iran from 1981 to 1989. Khamenei is the second-longest serving head of state in the Middle East, as well as the second-longest serving Iranian leader of the last century, after Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi.

According to one of his former alleged students, Shahroudi was considered among the wealthiest of Shi'i scholars in Iran, having amassed a substantial multi-million dollar revenue generating income from an export-import business. [9] [10] [ not in citation given ] In 2010, he declared himself a Marja'. [11] [12] [13]

Marja highest clerical rank in Usuli Twelver Shia Islam

In Shia Islam, marjaʿ, also known as a marjaʿ taqlīd or marjaʿ dīnī, literally meaning "source to imitate/follow" or "religious reference", is a title given to the highest level Shia authority, a Grand Ayatollah with the authority to make legal decisions within the confines of Islamic law for followers and less-credentialed clerics. After the Qur'an and the prophets and imams, marājiʿ are the highest authority on religious laws in Usuli Shia Islam.

Early life

Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi was born in Najaf, Iraq. [14] His father, Ali Hosseini Shahroudi was a scholar and teacher at the Najaf seminary and Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi completed elementary schooling at Najaf's Alaviye school before going to seminary. [15] Ayatollah Khomeini and Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr [15] were his teachers in Najaf. When he came to Iran following the Iranian Revolution, [14] he taught at Qom and Hassan Nasrallah, current Secretary General of the Lebanese political and paramilitary party Hezbollah, was one of his students. [16]

Najaf Place in Najaf Governorate, Iraq

Najaf or Al-Najaf al-Ashraf is a city in central-south Iraq about 160 km south of Baghdad. Its estimated population in 2013 was 1,000,000 people. It is the capital of Najaf Governorate. It is widely considered the third holiest city of Shia Islam, the Shi'ite world's spiritual capital, and the center of Shi'ite political power in Iraq.

Iraq Republic in Western Asia

Iraq, officially the Republic of Iraq, is a country in Western Asia, bordered by Turkey to the north, Iran to the east, Kuwait to the southeast, Saudi Arabia to the south, Jordan to the southwest and Syria to the west. The capital, and largest city, is Baghdad. Iraq is home to diverse ethnic groups including Arabs, Kurds, Assyrians, Turkmen, Shabakis, Yazidis, Armenians, Mandeans, Circassians and Kawliya. Around 95% of the country's 37 million citizens are Muslims, with Christianity, Yarsan, Yezidism and Mandeanism also present. The official languages of Iraq are Arabic and Kurdish.

Ruhollah Khomeini 20th-century Iranian religious leader and politician

Sayyid Ruhollah Mūsavi Khomeini, known in the Western world as Ayatollah Khomeini, was an Iranian politician and marja. He was the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the leader of the 1979 Iranian Revolution that saw the overthrow of the last Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and the end of 2,500 years of Persian monarchy. Following the revolution, Khomeini became the country's Supreme Leader, a position created in the constitution of the Islamic Republic as the highest-ranking political and religious authority of the nation, which he held until his death. He was succeeded by Ali Khamenei on 4 June 1989.

Political career

Before victory of Iranian Revolution

In 1974, Ayatollah Shahroudi was imprisoned by the Ba'ath Party, due to political activities related to the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq [15]

Baath Party political party

The Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party was a political party founded in Syria by Michel Aflaq, Salah al-Din al-Bitar, and associates of Zaki al-Arsuzi. The party espoused Ba'athism, which is an ideology mixing Arab nationalist, pan-Arabism, Arab socialist, and anti-imperialist interests. Ba'athism calls for unification of the Arab world into a single state. Its motto, "Unity, Liberty, Socialism", refers to Arab unity, and freedom from non-Arab control and interference.

Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq political party

The Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq is an Iraqi Shia Islamist Iraqi political party. It was established in Iran in 1982 by Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim and its political support comes from Iraq's Shia Muslim community.

After victory of Iranian Revolution

Shahroudi with Mohammad Baqir al-Hakim Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi023 (1).jpg
Shahroudi with Mohammad Baqir al-Hakim

After the 1979 revolution, Shahroudi moved to Iran. Ayatollah Shahroudi helped preserve the relationship between Ayatollah Khomeini and Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr, as well as relaying the messages of Marja in Najaf to Ayatollah Khomeini. [15] He was elected as a member of guardian council in 1995. Then he was appointed the head of the Judiciary in 1999. [17] In July 2011, Shahroudi was appointed by the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to head an arbitration body to resolve an ongoing dispute between president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the parliament. The five-member body which Shahroudi headed is made up of "hard-liners known for their opposition to any reforms within the ruling system", according to the Associated Press news agency. [7] The appointment was seen as a move to sideline or weaken the past President of Iran Hashemi Rafsanjani who helmed the Expediency Council, a body set up to arbitrate disputes within the ruling system in the Islamic Republic. [7] Rafsanjani had alienated Khamenei and the Islamic establishment with "his tacit support" for opposition to the controversial June 2009 presidential elections results that re-elected president Ahmadinejad. [7]

Shahroudi denounced ISIL as a terrorist organization that commits the worst sins of killing people in the name of jihad. Sharoudi had also denounced ISIL for wrecking the infrastructure of civilizations and countries, and for committing murder. [18]

Appointment as Chief Justice

Career in juridical power

After Ayatollah Khamenei became leader of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Yazdi served as the president of the Supreme Court. He remained in the post for many years before being replaced by Ayatollah Shahroudi. [19]

Prosecution of parliament members

Shahroudi along with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel 3rd International Conference on Quds and Protecting the Rights of the Palestinian People 14.jpg
Shahroudi along with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel

In 2001, the judiciary prosecuted several reformist members of parliament for speeches and activities they had carried out in their capacity as MPs. The Iranian constitution grants immunity to members of parliament during their tenure and the courts have no right to put MPs on trial for speeches given in parliament. The incident led to a major conflict between Iranian president Mohammad Khatami and Chief of Judiciary Shahroudi. In a letter, Khatami protested the courts' prosecution of MPs, insisting the act contravened the political immunity which the Iranian Constitution has provided for the deputies. The notice prompted Shahroudi to respond, calling Khatami's letter "a surprise." "Since judges, according to the Constitution and ordinary laws as well as the jurisprudential principles, are independent in their interpretation of the law and issuing verdicts, nobody -- not even the judiciary chief -- has the right to impose its interpretation of the law on judges," Shahroudi said in part of his letter to President Khatami. [20] Shahroudi denounced reformist MPs, stating they weakened parliament by defending "westernized" journalists and other liberals.

Decriminalization Bill

Shahroudi (right) with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi033.jpg
Shahroudi (right) with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei

The Decriminalization Bill (Persian: تعيين مجازات‌های جايگزين) refers to a legal bill submitted by the Iranian Judiciary to the parliament. It aims at substituting imprisonment and execution by educational workshops and social penalties. The bill is considered one of the most important legal bills to have been prepared by the Iranian judiciary during Shahroudi's tenure.

According to the bill, for all minor crimes, whose punishment is less than six months of imprisonment, imprisonment will be substituted with social penalties. This category of crimes include crimes related to traffic, environmental, medical, family, cultural and hunting offenses. The bill also demands that criminals undergo an educational or skill training course convened by the judiciary system. [21]

The bill also addresses the crimes conducted by minors in the three age categories 7-12, 12-15 and 15–18 years old. It is reminiscent to the Iranian criminal law of 1925. According to the bill, minors can no longer be executed. The bill is based on several years of continuous discussion with religious scholars at the seminaries. [22]

According to the bill, the crimes conducted by children of 7–12 years old are not punishable. For the 12-15 and 15-18 age ranges, imprisonment is replaced by mandatory training and education programs. For the age category of 15-18, execution is applied for crimes like murders if and only if the judge is confident that the criminals are mentally developed as adults and the crime is intentional and premeditated. However, both teenagers and young adults (older than 18) with low mental development, cannot be sentenced to death. [23]

In 2009, the bill was approved by the judiciary commission of the Iranian parliament. The bill will be ratified after the approval of the parliament and the guardian council.

Shahroudi speaking in Fatima Masumeh Shrine in Qom, April 2015 Hashemi Shahroodi 01.jpg
Shahroudi speaking in Fatima Masumeh Shrine in Qom, April 2015

Shahroudi is most notable in the West for instituting Iran's 2002 moratorium on stoning as a form of capital punishment. The penalty remains on the books however, leaving open the possibility that the moratorium could again be overturned as it was in 2006 and 2007. [24]

2009 Bill on Iran's Bar Association

In 2009, Shahroudi offered a bill to the Iranian parliament that targets the independence of Iran's Bar Association. According to this bill, lawyers will be watched by the Iranian ministry of Intelligence and their credentials depend on the approval of the intelligence service.

Restriction of media

In 2009, Shahroudi issued an order to restrict people's access to Iranian Satellite TV Channels and to prosecute staff of Satellite TV Channels whose opinion is not in line with that of the Islamic Republic. People who support these channels and Internet users who do not act according to the line of the constitution can be punished with up to five years of imprisonment.

Illness and death

Demonstrators protested against Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi around Hannover Neurology Hospital

Shahroudi was admitted to a Tehran hospital in May 2017 due to illness. Some other officials, including the Iranian Supreme leader Ali Khamenei, visited him. Shahroudi's physician indicated that his surgery was for a "fairly common digestive disorder". In January 2018, Shahroudi's son announced that he had traveled abroad to continue the treatment but did not refer to the country in which the further treatment was sought. The Hanoi Farsha newspaper reported on 4 January 2018 that Shahroudi was currently in the International Neuroscience Institute in Hannover, Germany. [25]

The news agencies then confirmed the news, a photo of Shahroudi was published along with Majid Samii, who heads the center. At the same time, many Iranians from Germany resorted to the Neurology Clinic. So from these protests and criticisms made to Samii, a physician and surgeon in the Iranian brain, conducted an interview with the BBC Persian Department, claiming that he was not aware of the policy because of his departure. A poster on Instagram wrote that "Any medicine that treats a patient with sex, race, sexual orientation, politics, or any other component".

Funeral of Hashemi Shahroudi lead by Ali Khamenei Iranian officials at Shahroudi's funeral 02.jpg
Funeral of Hashemi Shahroudi lead by Ali Khamenei

With the rise of protests, Falkar Beck, a Green Party member and former German MP, reportedly sued Shahroudi on charges of "murder" and "crimes against humanity." However, the complaint did not finally come to a close, and Shahroudi left Germany for two days in the territory two days later. He later announced in an interview that he had been insinuing doctors to Germany, and he himself had opposed it. Bild and Hanoi Farsha Algemineh newspapers have reported that Shahroudi had a brain tumor. [26]

On 23 December 2018, it was reported by some Iranian media outlets that Shahroudi had died. [27] However, the news was not confirmed by his family. His medicine team announced that Shahroudi was in a coma and that there was no hope for his recovery. On 22:04 IST of the following day, his death was announced. [28] He was 70. A state funeral was held on 26 December in Tehran and he was buried at Fatima Masumeh Mosque in Qom. [29] [30]


Shahroudi received criticism from a number of Iranian scholars and lawyers. Mostafa Mohaghegh Damad, a well-known Iranian scholar and expert on Islamic law, wrote a letter criticizing Shahroudi in August 2009. [31] [32]

See also

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Legal offices
Preceded by
Mohammad Yazdi
Chief Justice of Iran
Succeeded by
Sadeq Larijani
Political offices
Preceded by
Ali Movahedi-Kermani
Chairman of Expediency Discernment Council
Succeeded by
Ali Movahedi-Kermani