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Sadeq Mahsouli

Title: Minister of Welfare and Social Security (Since November 2009)

Sanctions: United States (September 29, 2010)

On September 29, 2010, the United States sanctioned Sadeq Mahsouli for his involvement in serious human rights abuses, as documented by the U.S. Treasury.[1]

According to the Associated Press, during Iran’s June 2009 elections, Mahsouli was Minister of the Interior, with authority over all police forces and Interior Ministry security agents. These “forces were responsible for attacks on the dormitories of Tehran University on June 15, 2009 during which students were severely beaten and detained.” [2] On June 17, 2009, speaker of the Majlis Ali Larijani said Mahsouli was responsible for the attacks on civilians and students and should be held responsible, according to the report by Iran Human Rights Documentation Center.[3]

According to The Telegraph, Mahsouli is a former Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander and a confidant of President Ahmadinejad. [4] Mahsouli met and befriended Ahmadinejad as a student at the Iran University of Science and Technology, according to Frontline. As a member of the IRGC, Mahsouli fought in the Iran-Iraq war, in which he commanded the 6th Special Forces division, and served as deputy Minister of Defense in charge of planning.[5]

According to the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), Mahsouli was Ahmadinejad’s commander while they both served as members of IRGC hit squads in the 1980s and 1990s.  [6] “The unit's special mission was to assassinate Iranian dissidents abroad.” [7]

Mahsouli was also governor of the Iranian state of Orumiyeh, and deputy governor-general for Iran’s Western Azerbaijan province, according to Frontline.[8]

According to The Telegraph, Mahsouli later used his IRGC contacts to build a profitable business in construction and oil trading. [9] According to the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, Mahsouli earned the nickname “Billionaire General” for his success in winning lucrative contracts from businesses associated with the IRGC.[10]

 According to Frontline, Ahmadinejad nominated Mahsouli as oil minister in 2005, but the Majlis rejected the appointment based on Mahsouli’s inability to account for his acquisition of wealth. In November 2008, the Majlis narrowly approved Mahsouli’s appointment as Minister of Interior.[11]

A year later in November 2009, Mahsouli became Minister of Welfare and Social Security. In May 2011, the Majlis approved a proposal to merge a number of the ministries including the Welfare ministry, according to the Iranian press. After the merger is complete, Mahsouli will reportedly leave office.[12]


[1]United States Department of the Treasury, Fact Sheet, “Fact Sheet: New Executive Order Targeting Iranian Officials Responsible For Or Complicit In Serious Human Rights Abuses,” September 29, 2010. (http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/tg877.aspx)

[2]Robert Burns, “U.S. Imposes Sanctions on 8 Iranian Officials,” Associated Press, September 29, 2010. (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/sep/29/us-imposes-sanctions-8-iranian-officials/)

[3]“A Year Later: Suppression Continues in Iran,” Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, March 2, 2011. (http://www.iranhrdc.org/english/publications/reports/3162-a-year-later-suppression-continues-in-iran.html?p=25)

[4]Philip Sherwell, “Iranian Guards Amass Secret Fortunes,” The Telegraph (U.K.), August 19, 2007. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1560712/Iranian-Guards-amass-secret-fortunes.html)

[5]Muhammad Sahimi, “Ahmadinejad's Security Cabinet,” Frontline: Tehran Bureau, August 20, 2009. (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/tehranbureau/2009/08/ahmadinejads-security-cabinet.html)

[6]Reza Shafa, “Ahmadinejad's Nominee for Interior Ministry is a Veteran Revolutionary Guard,” National Council of Resistance of Iran, November 20, 2008. (http://ncr-iran.org/en/news/iran-resistance/5789-ahmadinejads-nominee-for-interior-ministry-is-a-veteran-revolutionary-guard)

[7]Reza Shafa, “Ahmadinejad's Nominee for Interior Ministry is a Veteran Revolutionary Guard,” National Council of Resistance of Iran, November 20, 2008. (http://ncr-iran.org/en/news/iran-resistance/5789-ahmadinejads-nominee-for-interior-ministry-is-a-veteran-revolutionary-guard)

[8]Muhammad Sahimi, “Ahmadinejad's Security Cabinet,” Frontline: Tehran Bureau, August 20, 2009. (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/tehranbureau/2009/08/ahmadinejads-security-cabinet.html)

[9]Philip Sherwell, “Iranian Guards Amass Secret Fortunes,” The Telegraph (U.K.), August 19, 2007. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1560712/Iranian-Guards-amass-secret-fortunes.html)

[10]“A Year Later: Suppression Continues in Iran,” Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, March 2, 2011. p. 25 (http://www.iranhrdc.org/english/publications/reports/3162-a-year-later-suppression-continues-in-iran.html?p=25)

[11]Muhammad Sahimi, “Ahmadinejad's Security Cabinet,” Frontline: Tehran Bureau, August 20, 2011. (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/tehranbureau/2009/08/ahmadinejads-security-cabinet.html)

[12]“Ahmadinejad Administration Approves Merger Of 8 Ministries,” Mehr News Agency (Iran), May 10, 2011. (http://www.payvand.com/news/11/may/1088.html)