Ministry of intelligence (Iran)

Islamic Republic Of Iran Intelligence Ministry
وزارت اطّلاعات جمهوری اسلامی ایران
Agency overview
Formed 18 August 1984; 29 years ago (1984-08-18)
Jurisdiction Iran
Employees +30,000[1]
Agency executive Mahmoud Alavi, Director and Minister

The Ministry of Intelligence and National Security of the Islamic Republic of Iran (MISIRI) (Persian: وِزارَتِ اِطّلاعات جُمهوریِ اِسلامیِ ایران Vezarat-e Ettela'at Jomhuri-ye Eslami-ye Iran literally Islamic Republic of Iran's Ministry of Intelligence) is the primary intelligence agency of the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is also known as VEVAK (Vezarat-e Ettela'at va Amniyat-e Keshvar) or VAJA or alternatively MOIS. It was initially known as SAVAMA, when it took over the previous government's intelligence apparatus. The ministry is one of the three "sovereign" ministrial bodies of Iran due to nature of its work at home and abroad.[2]


Information on the ministry is often difficult to obtain.[3] Initially, the organization was known as SAVAMA,[4] and intended to replace SAVAK, Iran's intelligence agency during the rule of the Shah, but it is unclear how much continuity there is between the two organizations—while their role is similar, their underlying ideology is radically different. It is suspected that the new government was initially eager to purge SAVAK elements from the new organization, but that pragmatism eventually prevailed, with many experienced SAVAK personnel being retained in their roles. Former SAVAK staff are believed to have been important in the ministry's infiltration of left-wing dissident groups and of the Iraqi Ba'ath Party.

The formation of the ministry was proposed by Saeed Hajjarian to the government of Mir-Hossein Mousavi and then the parliament. There were debates about which branch of the state should oversee the new institution, and the other options apart from the presidency were the Judiciary system, the Supreme Leader, and Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. Finally, the government could get the approval of Ayatollah Khomeini to make it a ministry, but a restriction was added to the requirements of the minister, needing him to be a doctor of Islam.

The ministry was finally founded on 18 August 1984, abandoning many small intelligence agencies that were formed in different governmental organizations. The five ministers since the founding of the ministry, have been Mohammad Reyshahri (under Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi), Ali Fallahian (under President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani), Ghorbanali Dorri-Najafabadi (under President Mohammad Khatami, resigned after a year), Ali Younessi (under President Khatami, until August 24, 2005), Gholam Hossein Mohseni-Ejehei (under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, from 24 August 2005 to 24 August 2009) and Heyder Moslehi (under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, from 29 August 2009 to 15 August 2013).

Chain Murders

In late 1998, three dissident writers, a political leader and his wife were murdered in Iran in the span of two months.[5]

After great public outcry and journalistic investigation in Iran and publicity internationally,[6] prosecutors announced in mid-1999 that one Saeed Emami had led "rogue elements" in Iran's intelligence ministry in the killings, but that Emami was now dead having committed suicide in prison.[7] In a trial that was "dismissed as a sham by the victims' families and international human rights organisations",[8] three intelligence ministry agents were sentenced in 2001 to death and twelve others to prison terms for murdering two of the victims. Two years later, the Iranian Supreme Court reduced two of the death sentences to life.[9]

In 1999, critics of the Iranian government accused "rogue elements" of the ministry for the infamous serial murders of dissident writers and intellectuals, including assassination of Iranian political dissidents inside and outside the country.[10]

See also


Further reading

  • Yves Bonnet, Vevak, au service des ayatollahs : Histoire des services secrets iraniens, Timée-éditions, Boulogne-Billancourt, 2009. ISBN 978-2-35401-001-0 (fr)

External links

  • Covert Terror: Iran's Parallel Intelligence Apparatus
  • Murder at Mykonos: The Anatomy of a Political Assassination
  • No Safe Haven: Iran's Global Assassination Campaign
  • Iran Terror Database, a website with allegations about Iran's intelligence activities
  • Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) Vezarat-e Ettela'at va Amniat-e Keshvar VEVAK
  • Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) official site

Coordinates: 35°45′04″N 51°27′25″E / 35.751°N 51.457°E / 35.751; 51.457

Directors of Ministry of Intelligence of Iran

(1957–1979) Iran Bakhtiar | Pakravan | Nassiri | Moghadam

Islamic Republic (1984–present) Iran Reyshahri | Fallahian | Dorri-Najafabadi | Younessi | Mohseni-Ejehei | Moslehi | Alavi

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