Who is Iran’s President-Elect Masoud Pezeshkian? (2024)

Masoud Pezeshkian has been elected as the new President of Iran, securing over 16 votes in the second round of the 14th presidential election on July 6,but who is the new unknown president-elect?

Born on September 29, 1954, in Mahabad, West Azerbaijan Province, Pezeshkian completed his early education in his hometown before moving to Urmia to study at an agricultural technical school, where he received a diploma in food industries.

He is of mixed Azerbaijani and Kurdish background, a common feature of the local area, and is a fluent speaker of the regional languages and Persian, the Iranian lingua franca.

After completing his military service in Zabol, Sistan and Baluchestan Province, Pezeshkian discovered his passion for medicine. He obtained a second diploma in natural sciences in 1975 and entered Tabriz University of Medical Sciences in 1976 to study medicine.

A true old-school revolutionary

During the Iran-Iraq War, Pezeshkian served both as a combatant and a doctor, coordinating medical teams sent to the front lines.

Who is Iran’s President-Elect Masoud Pezeshkian? (1)

Pezeshkian completed his general medical degree in 1985 and began teaching physiology at the medical school.

He went on to specialise in general surgery in 1990 and later obtained a subspecialty in cardiac surgery from Iran University of Medical Sciences in 1993.

His career in public service began when he was appointed president of Tabriz University of Medical Sciences in 1994, a position he held until 2000. He then moved to Tehran, serving as Deputy Health Minister in Mohammad Khatami's first cabinet and later as Minister of Health in Khatami's second term.

Pezeshkian entered parliament in 2007 as a representative for Tabriz, Azarshahr, and Osku, winning re-election multiple times. He served on the Health and Medical Commission and was elected First Deputy Speaker of the Parliament in its 10th term.

Who is Iran’s President-Elect Masoud Pezeshkian? (2)

During his tenure, Canadian-Iranian photographer Zahra Kazemi suffered a severe fracture to her skull from security forces in 2003 following 19 days of imprisonment, IRNA reported at the time.

Pezeshkian, Minister of Health and Medical Education at the time, admitted that she died of a fractured skull as a result of being hit in the head.

After unsuccessful attempts to run for president in 2013 and 2021, Pezeshkian's candidacy was finally approved by the Guardian Council in 2024. He went on to win the presidency in the second round of voting.

Who is Iran’s President-Elect Masoud Pezeshkian? (3)

Ability for change?

As president-elect, Pezeshkian now awaits the formal endorsem*nt of the Supreme Leader and his swearing-in ceremony before the parliament to officially assume office as the next President of Iran.

Pezeshkian, who secured victory on a platform of diplomatic engagement and sanctions relief. However, experts caution that Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, retains the final say on major policy decisions and he will not have an easy run of parliament.His cabinet appointments must be approved by a conservative-dominated parliament, which could limit his ability to implement reforms.

The timing of Pezeshkian's presidency is particularly crucial, coinciding with upcoming US elections and ongoing uncertainty surrounding the Iran nuclear deal orchestrated by liberal Javad Zarif, his potential foreign minister.

Whilethe new president may attempt to steer Iran towards a more open dialogue with the West, the effectiveness of such efforts remains to be seen, given both internal constraints and external political dynamics.

Some observers speculate that Pezeshkian's position as the second-most powerful figure in Iran could be influential in shaping the country's future direction, especially given the advanced age of the Supreme Leader.

However, historical precedent suggests that any disagreements between the president and the Supreme Leader are likely to be resolved privately, maintaining a united front in public.

Regional endorsem*nts

Regional leaders, including Russian and Saudi Arabian leaders, are sending congratulations, but Western leaders have not been forthcoming as of yet.

Saudi Arabia's king and crown prince were quick to congratulate Masoud Pezeshkian on his election as Iran's president, state news agency SPA reported on July 6.

"I affirm my keenness to develop and deepen the relations between our countries and people and serve our mutual interests," SPA quoted Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Ethnic kinsmen Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev sent a congratulatory letter to Pezeshkian and invited him to Baku, the official website of the head of the Azerbaijani state reported.

The congratulations say that Baku attaches great importance to relations between Azerbaijan and Iran, "built on such solid foundations as common religious and cultural roots, friendship and brotherhood."

"I invite you to visit Azerbaijan to exchange views on the prospects for the development of our bilateral cooperation. I convey to you my best wishes and wish you success in your upcoming responsible activities for the benefit of the friendly and brotherly Iranian people," Aliyev said.

Who is Iran’s President-Elect Masoud Pezeshkian? (2024)

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