Monday, July 15, 2024

Who is Iran’s president-elect Pezeshkian?

Massoud Pezeshkian, the reformist candidate who won Iran’s presidential election in a close race on Friday to become the country’s 9th president, hails from the country’s West Azarbaijan province.

Pezeshkian was born in 1954 in the city of Mahabad to an Iranian Azeri father and an Iranian Kurdish mother.

He pursued his interest in medicine and graduated with a degree in general medicine.

As a young medical student, Pezeshkian became a revolutionary force who followed Imam Khomeini’s line against the Pahlavi regime.

During the Iraqi-imposed war in the 1980s, Pezeshkian was at the front lines as a fighter and doctor.

After the war, he continued his studies at the Tehran-based Iran University of Medical Sciences to become a heart surgeon and the head of Shahid Madani Hospital in the northwestern Iranian city of Tabriz.

He is known for his efforts to improve health facilities and medical centers for remote and underprivileged areas in the northwest of the country.

In 2000, he became the country’s deputy health minister and a year later was appointed as the health minister under reformist president Mohammad Khatami.

Since 2008, he has been a member of parliament representing East Azarbaijan constituencies and has retained the post for several terms. He was also the deputy speaker in the 10th parliament.

When he stepped in as a candidate for the 14th presidential election in the country, he was endorsed by senior reformist and moderate figures like Khatami, former president Hassan Rouhani, and former foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Pezeshkian, however, shies away from calling himself a reformist, saying he believes in “justice-oriented principles.”

On Friday, he garnered 16,384,403 votes, or 49.61 percent of the total 30.5 million ballots cast, to succeed the late President Ebrahim Raisi.

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