Mohammad Reza Aref, a reformist politician, was the First Vice President for former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami. Aref is currently a member of the Expediency Discernment Council, an advisory body for Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
Aref held different posts during Khatami’s presidency from 1997-2005. He was Minister of Information and Communications Technology from 1997 to 2000 and Vice President from 2001 to 2005. Aref registered as a parliamentary candidate for the 2008 election, but later withdrew in protest against the disqualification of reformist candidates by executive and supervisory boards.
He is a supporter of not only Mohammad Khatami but also of Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, Iran’s president from 1989 to 1997 and the current chairman of the Expediency Discernment council.The reformist politician has said several times that if Khatami joins the 2013 election as a candidate, he will step aside.
Born in 1951 in Iran’s central city of Yazd, Aref has been active in Iranian politics since the Islamic Republic’s early years. He holds a B.Sc. from Tehran University and a M.Sc. and Ph.D. from Stanford Univesity in California in Electrical Engineering. He is active in academia, having taught at various Iranian universities since 1982.