Poster of Karrubi in Shiraz, Iran in June 2005 (Photo by Snorkel, available at Flickr).

May 13, 2009

Mehdi Karrubi Biography and Campaign News


Name: Mehdi Karrubi (Hojjat al-Eslam)

Birthyear: 1937[1]

Birthplace: Ali-Goudarz, Lorestan Province[2]

Education: Bachelor’s degree in theology from Tehran University, Ejtehad degree from Theological Seminary of Qom[3]

Biography: Pre-Revolution: Cleric, religious propagator, political activist since 1962, trialed and convicted to internal exile in Gonbad-e Kavous (1966-1967). Political prisoner (1973-1976), interned on several occasions from 1976-1979.  Post-Revolution: Served in the Revolutionary Committees, Representative of Grand Ayatollah Rouhollah Mousavi Khomeini in Imam Khomeini Relief Committee, the Housing Foundation, the Martyr Foundation and the Pilgrimage Organization in 1987 leaving 400 dead Iranian pilgrims killed in clashes with the Saudi security forces, member of the Constitution Review Panel in early 1989. Parliamentarian (1980-2005), Deputy Speaker of the Parliament (1985-1989), Speaker of the Parliament, E’temad-e Melli [National Trust] founding leader since 2005. [4]


Campaign News

June 9-10 News Roundup

  • Karrubi's campaign headquarter in Bushehr attacked by agents in civilian clothes. 
  • Speaking in Tabriz, Karrubi discloses information about Ahmadinejad's attempt to provide a $700 million loan for one of his confidantes. 
  • Karrubi to speak in Qom
  •  Speaking in Azerbaijan, Karrubi urges the Iranians to vote if they want change. 
  • (E) Karrubi announced that Jamileh Kadivar will be the first female member of his future cabinet, if elected.
  • (E) Karrubi announced: “After the June 12 presidential election, I will unveil documents pertinent to the $700 million dollar Ardebil oil case against Ahmadinejad.”

June 7-8 News Roundup

June 5 News Roundup

  • Karrubi promises that his televised debate with Ahmadinejad will be even more exciting than the debate between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi.
  • Karrubi, speaking in Rasht, says he is fighting fat cats and rentier monopolists in his campaign. 

June 4 News Roundup

  • Karrubi supporters' Ethnic Minorities Seminar displays attacks Mousavi as attendees shout "Azadi-ye Andisheh Baa Shaal-e Sabz Nemisheh!" [Freedom of Thought Can't Be Achieved With a Green Scarf!], a reference to Mousavi's use of the color green and green scarf in his campaign. 
  • (E) Karrubi’s campaign manager, Gholam-Hossein Karbaschi, challenged Ahmadinejad to join him in a televised debate in response to Ahmadinejad’s attacks.
  • (E) Karrubi called his first debate “a good discussion” but stated that his “debate with Ahmadinejad and Mousavi will be in a more defiant spirit and in detail."

June 3 News Roundup

June 2 News Roundup

May 29-June 1 News Roundup

  • As the Amir Kabir University denies Karrubi and his followers access to the university's mosque for a campaign speech, the students break the door and force their way into the mosque and listen to Karrubi's speech.
  • Karrubi's wife Fatemeh says she was a lucky girl to marry her husband, says her husband will provide the best opportunities to realize women's rights
  • Karbaschi applauds Karrubi's attempt at institutionalization as a precondition for decentralization.
  • Karrubi's conversation with senior advisor Gholam-Hossein Kabaschi, parts 1 and 2.
  • Fighting at Karrubi's speech in Bojnourd.
  • Karrubi speaking at Ferdowsi University in Mashhad: "There is an intellectual current in Iran which does not appreciate the popular vote...At private meetings, I have heard them say: 'What is better? Vote of 500 commoners or the vote of two members of the elite?'...I'll not mention any names in order to avoid conflicts inside the country, but on several occasions I have heard them say at their private meetings that popular vote is only window dressing to satisfy the world...With regard to the Palestine issue, I have always said that a referendum must take place and the Palestinians should return to their home and that I believe in moral support to the people of Palestine. But I also say it is up to the people of Palestine to decide."
  • (E) Mohammad Ali Najafi, Iranian politician and mathematician, has joined Karrubi’s campaign staff as his strategic planning advisor.
  • (E) Gholam-Hossein Karbaschi, head of Karrubi’s campaign, looks forward to winning the election in the first round.

May 28 News Roundup

  • Karrubi warns against Imam Khomeini Relief Committee's interventions in presidential elections.
  • (E) Karrubi’s senior advisor Seyyed Mohammed Abtahi stated that Karrubi plans on setting an agenda for rapprochement with the United States, remarking that President Barack Obama could be the “next best thing” for Iran, “but at worst, he could pose also a much greater threat than the Bush administration.”
  • (E) Another top aide, Abbas Abdi, announced that if elected, Karrubi will remove oil money from the budget to create a separate fund whose shares will be given to Iranian citizens.

May 27 News Roundup

  • Karrubi says he aims for victory, but should he fail to advance to the second round of presidential election, he will support Mousavi.

May 23-26 News Roundup

May 22 News Roundup

  • Faced with a Basij member who, during Karrubi's campaign at Ardebil University asked him why he has chosen former Tehran Mayor Gholam-Hossein Karbaschi "with his criminal past" as his campaign manager, Karrubi urged the people of Ardebil to attend to the issue of "gasoline smuggling from Ardebil" to Turkey in the 1990's in which current Interior Minister Sadegh Mahsouli and Ahmadinejad are accused of having been engaged. Karrubi is also attacked by the head of the Islamic Society of the university who asked what relationship members of the so called "nationalist/religious faction" and individuals like Ataollah Mohajerani the exiled Culture and Islamic Propagation Minister of Mohamamd Khatami will play in his cabinet. Another questioner attacked Karrubi for economic crimes in the Martyr Foundation when he headed the organization, and a third questioner condemned Karrubi's support for former nuclear negotiator Mousavian.
  • (E) Karrubi insinuated that he may drop out of the presidential race and endorse Mir-Hossein Mousavi.

May 20 News Roundup

  • In an open letter to the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, Karrubi protests against its partisanship.
  • The Karrubi campaign releases a compilation of the candidate's speeches as a book.
  • Alef News releases Karrubi's latest interview with Press TV in which he says that he is opposed to the benevolent supervisory function [Nezarat-e Estesvabi] of the Guardian Council and vetting of the candidates in the hands of this council.
  • Kayhan editor Hossein Shariatmadari attacks Jamileh Kadivar who runs the women's office of Karrubi's campaign:
    • "In her recent propaganda trip to Arak, she has called the Zionist Party of Bahais 'Iranian citizens' and has said: 'As citizens of Iran, the Bahais have rights and the statesmen must respect those rights and recognize them.' We have really no expectations from Mrs. Kadivar and it is not her we are addressing. But is Mr. Karrubi unaware of the real identity of Bahaism which is not only a sect but also a political party connected with the Zionists? Have the thousand documents and hundreds of disclosed affairs about the nature of this party as Israel's fifth column with its espionage and terrorist activities been hidden from Mr. Karrubi's sight? One can certainly not expect of Mr. Karrubi as a cleric, and at that one with a record of Islamic struggle to be ignorant of the identity of this party. Therefore, why and with what motives does his entourage speak of realization of this Israeli and American party which is a recognition of this Zionist and terrorist party? Mrs. Rahnavard [wife of Mousavi] in Mousavi’s campaign speaks of Shirin Ebadi with her known and black past record of cooperation with the Monafeghin [the hypocrites, reference to the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization] as a learned woman? Mrs. Kadivar from Mr. Karrubi's campaign speaks of the necessity of recognizing this party, and the like...Is all this accidental? Or is this - God forbid - but most likely without the knowledge of the candidates - an issue involving misinformed and fooled and those bought by the enemy?" 
  • Aftab News claims dissident Grand Ayatollah Montazeri supports Karrubi.
  • (E) Karrubi promises to fight for women’s rights, if elected, stating that “ensuring equality between men and women was one of the aims of the Islamic Revolution, and this desire was reiterated many times by the founder of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini.”

May 17-18 News Roundup

  • Karrubi cancels campaign trips for the rest of the week. 
  • Two motorcyclists attack Mehdi Karrubi's convoy, smash the windshields of the automobile transporting Karrubi. 
  • Speaking at the Najafabad branch of the Azad University, Karrubi attacks Mousavi's supporters
    • Karrubi urges the students to participate in elections and vote in order to "create a greater myth."
    • The students answered Karrubi's call by shouting: "We do not want a government of potatoes" [a reference to the Ahmadinejad's distribution of free potatoes in order to attract voters], and "long live the reforms."
    • Karrubi's speech at the university was disrupted by a fight between members of the Basij and the university students. 
    • Karrubi also answers questions with regard to Israel and the United States: "By discussing the Holocaust issue Ahmadinejad, has done the greatest service to the Israelis and he has mobilized the entire world for the cause of Israel. Who are we supporting? Have we reached a point where we must support Hitler? What we say is that the land and rights of the Palestinians have been confiscated and that in that land, Muslims and Palestinians must live together with Christians and the Jews...
    • We regard to the United States we have said that we can engage in negotiations with the U.S. government on the basis of wisdom and expediency but the responsibility of general affairs of the country is in the hands of the Supreme Leader..."
  • At this point members of the Student Basij chanted the slogan "Death to America" but Karrubi responded swiftly: "Was it not your government which on two occasions wrote letters to two U.S. Presidents, first Bush and then to Obama? The unanswered letters are the greats insult against Iran..." 
  • Karrubi's administrative advisor Ali Nowzarpour explains Karrubi's plans to strengthen the municipalities
  • Zangeneh tribe elders meet Karrubi, pledge allegiance and support for the "Sheikh of Reforms." 
  • Karrubi has fired Mohammad-Zare' Foumani, head of the youth headquarters of his campaign because of Foumani's harsh attack against Mousavi. 

May 16 News Roundup

May 15 News Roundup

May 13 News Roundup

  • Razi University students thank Mehdi Karrubi for his efforts to release imprisoned students.
    • Karrubi, speaking in Ilam, attacks Ahmadinejad for looking for internal enemies and defends campaign manager Gholam-Hossein Karbaschi: "I'm a clear and straightforward person. I am the same Mehdi Karrubi following the line of the Imam and will still remain a reformist and I love this line... If we want to alienate everyone with all sorts of excuses - by calling one enemy Zionist, one day calling one the mouthpiece of the enemy, it is not right. Making up enemies is hardly an art. We must see to it that everyone who lives in this country is assembled under the same roof. For us, the principle is the country and the regime. We have come to attract, not to exclude. Mr. Karbaschi is an able executive."
    • Following declaration of support from religious innovator Abd al-Karim Soroush to the Karrubi campaign, Karrubi stresses that there are certain issues in which he disagrees with Soroush but that he welcomes academic and scholarly endorsement of his campaign, expresses grief about Soroush not being in Iran.


[1] “A’za-ye Sabegh Showra-ye Ali Enghelab-e Farhangi.” [Former Members Of The Supreme Council For The Cultural Revolution] Dabir-khaneh-ye Showra-ye Ali-ye Enghelab-e Farhangi [Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Cultural Revolution] (Tehran) No date available. Available in Persian at: (Accessed May 5, 2009).

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

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