Seyyed Ahmad Khatami

Seyyed Ahmad Khatami is a hard-line cleric and an influential Friday-prayer imam in Tehran

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Seyyed Ahmad Khatami is a hard-line cleric and an influential Friday-prayer imam in Tehran. Khatami is also a member of the Assembly of Experts for the Leadership, an Iranian entity that is itself implicated in human rights violations for its neglect in upholding constitutional provisions.

As a cleric close to the state authorities and with a large audience, he leverages his position to verbally attack and incite violence against protesters. He not only defends the repressive actions of the security forces of Iran but has also on several occasions urged for even harsher treatment of protesters, including the death sentence.

He is therefore responsible for serious human rights violations in Iran.

Sayyid Ahmad Khatami (Persian: احمد خاتمی, born 8 May 1960) is a senior Iranian Shia cleric, member of Guardian Council and a senior member of the Assembly of Experts. In December 2005, Ali Khamenei appointed him as Tehran’s substitute Friday prayer leader. He is also a conservative and principlist politician.

He was born in the city of Semnan, Iran. He studied at seminaries in Qom and Semnan.

In 2006, during the Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy, Khatami asked the Pope to “fall on his knees in front of a senior Muslim cleric and try to understand Islam.” In 2007, he addressed the death sentence issued by Imam Khomeini against Salman Rushdie, saying “In the Islamic Iran that revolutionary fatwa of Imam [Khomeini] is still alive and cannot be changed.” In regard to the 2009 Iranian election protests, Khatami denounced demonstrators as rioters who wage war against God (“mohareb”), (a capital crime in Islamic law),[9] and more recently accused reformist presidential candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi of Mohareb as “leaders of sedition.”

He described those protesting the 2009 presidential election’s contested outcome as engaging in “war against God,” a crime in Iranian law carrying the death penalty. In the VOA’s words, he “called on the government to punish the leaders of the country’s post-election protests cruelly and without mercy.”

On November 18, 2022, Khatami said trying to undermine the Iranian regime is “haram” (forbidden) and “we should deal with rioters using the toughest punishments.” He divided demonstrators into “murderers,” those “opposing God,” and ones “spread lies and agitate public opinion.” He said all three types of people were liable to capital punishment. Khatami also said the government’s infliction of violence was restricted to “rioters burning ambulances.”

Member of the Assembly of Experts

Human Rights Violations:
Responsible for serious human rights violations in Iran

Involved In:
Spreading propaganda

Also Known As:
Seyed Ahmad Khatami
Ahmad Khatami

May 8, 1960


Tehran, Iran


Reason for the color:
» COUNCIL IMPLEMENTING REGULATION (EU) 2022/2428 of 12 December 2022 implementing Regulation (EU) No 359/2011 concerning restrictive measures directed against certain persons, entities and bodies in view of the situation in Iran;
» Canadian financial institution - Special Economic Measures (Iran) Regulations SOR/2010-165;