A prominent and influential figure in Iranian politics today, Mohammad Mokhber has held the position of First Vice-President of the Islamic Republic of Iran since August 2021. Following the death of President Ebrahim Raisi, he replaces the latter, according to the Iranian constitution.

IRGC officer

Born into a clerical family on May 11, 1955, Mohammad Mokhber spent his early years in Dezfoul, a town in the southwest of the country, in the province of Khuzestan. There, he pursued advanced studies in management and economics up to doctorate level.

During the Iran-Iraq war, the future vice president served as a medical officer in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the ideological army of the Islamic Republic. His position within the organization and his proximity to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Supreme Guide of the Revolution from 1989 onwards, enabled him to occupy advantageous positions linked to the Iranian regime.

Mostazafan Foundation and Sina Bank

After the end of the war, Mokhber worked as CEO of Dezful Telecommunications, before becoming deputy governor of his home province. In the early 2000s, he was appointed vice-president of the Mostazafan Foundation, a powerful parastatal directly controlled by the Supreme Leader’s office, which controls large parts of the Iranian economy, according to the US Treasury Department.

Shortly afterwards, he was appointed CEO of Sina Bank, 84% controlled by the foundation. In this position, Mokhber was instrumental in overseeing the financing of the Islamic Republic’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, for which he was sanctioned by the European Union in 2010. However, the EU removed him from its list in 2012.

Chairman of Setad

At the same time, Mohammad Mokhber was appointed in 2007 to head the Setad, another body directly linked to the Office of the Supreme Leader. Set up in 1989, a month before Ayatollah Khamenei came to power, the Setad is in charge of property expropriated by the Islamic Republic since its creation.

According to an investigation published by the Reuters news agency in 2013, the Setad has built up a fortune based on “the systematic seizure of thousands of properties belonging to ordinary Iranians”, also seizing property belonging to members of religious minorities.

The value of assets built on these seizures would thus amount to $95 billion, again according to this investigation. As head of the organization until 2021, Mokhber played a central role in the management of this state theft.

Iran’s first vice-president

In 2018, it was the US Treasury Department’s turn to impose sanctions against him, due to his links with the IRGC. However, this in no way prevents him from continuing his political ascent.

When Ebrahim Raisi won the presidential elections in Iran in 2021, he appointed Mohammad Mokhber as First Vice-President. Mokhber is required to conduct government meetings in the absence of the President, and to replace him in the event of the latter’s death or incapacity.

In 2022, he also became a member of the Council of Discernment, a state body with an advisory role to the Supreme Leader.

As First Vice-President, Mokhbar’s task will be to oversee new elections within the next 50 days, to elect a new President.