Profile: Alireza Zakani, Tehran Mayor and Former Lawmaker

By Press TV Website Staff

Six candidates were approved by the Constitutional Council, a 12-member election supervisory body, on Saturday to run in Iran’s upcoming presidential election slated for June 28.

Among those on the list is Alireza Zakani, Mayor of Tehran and former senior lawmaker.

Zakani, who was in the 2021 presidential race, withdrew in the final stages in favor of Ebrahim Raeisi, the eventual winner.

He was one of the most vocal and powerful voices in the presidential debates.

Zakani was born in 1966 in Tehran into a religious family.

His father, Haj Hossein Zakani, was a well-known athlete from Shahr Ray, a city in the southern part of the capital and one of the oldest in the world.

His father was an international wrestling referee and a close friend of Iran’s legendary wrestler Gholamreza Takhti.

His paternal ancestors were from Zayegan and Lalan, mountain villages north of Tehran, and his maternal grandfather was from Tabriz in the northwest of the country.

Following in his father's footsteps, Zakani was passionate about wrestling in his youth.

During his student days, he got involved in the youth movement against the Pahlavi regime, participating in marches and demonstrations across Tehran.

After the victory of the Islamic Revolution and during the imposed war, Zakani participated on the battlefield as a member of the Irregular Warfare Headquarters units led by Mostafa Chamran.

He served in units including the 27th Mohammad Rasulullah Division and the 10th Seyyed al-Shohda Division of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Ground Forces.

During the war, he held various responsibilities such as battalion deputy commander, head of intelligence and operations of Najaf Ashraf 3 camp, deputy head of intelligence and operations of the 27th Mohammad Rasulullah Division, and head of this division.

Zakani has a record of sixty-two months of voluntary service on the frontline and was critically injured in the hand, leg, and neck, ending the war with 50 percent injuries.

In 1989, he married Masoumeh Pakatchi, with whom he has three children.

In the same year, he started higher education at Tehran University of Medical Sciences (TUMS).

He defended his doctoral thesis in the summer of 1997 and, after participating in the specialization test, completed a nuclear medicine course in 2003.

During his university studies, he was active in the Central Council of the Islamic Association of Students of Tehran University of Medical Sciences and was responsible for the entire Student Basij organization of TUMS and the University of Tehran.

Zakani is a member of the academic staff at Tehran University of Medical Sciences and has worked at the Nuclear Medicine Center of Imam Khomeini Hospital Complex and the Research Center for Nuclear Medicine at Dr. Shariati Hospital.

He is also a member of the board of directors of the Scientific Association of Nuclear Medicine of Iran.

Zakani began his senior political career in 2004, serving as a member of parliament for the Tehran, Rey, Shemiranat, Eslamshahr, and Pardis constituency until 2016, and again from 2020 to 2021.

Since 2021, he has served as the Mayor of Tehran.

He ran for the 2013 and 2017 presidential elections but was disqualified both times by the Constitutional Council. His candidacy was accepted in the 2021 presidential election, but he withdrew a few days before the vote in favor of Raeisi.

Zakani registered his candidacy for the upcoming presidential election on June 1. At a press conference, he praised the late Raeisi and his foreign policy and hinted at his political program.

He promised to solve the problems of the people through politics centered on justice, eliminating corruption and discrimination, and creating conditions for maximum citizen participation.

He emphasized the necessity of utilizing all the country’s capacities and the values of the revolutionary front, decentralizing and strengthening participatory and civil governance by relying on Iranian culture, increasing purchasing power, and promoting people's welfare.

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