Ideas. Action. Impact. The Washington Institute for Near East Policy The Washington Institute: Improving the Quality of U.S. Middle East Policy

Other Pages

Also available in

Mohsen Sazegara


Mohsen Sazegara is a visiting fellow at The Washington Institute where he will focus on the prospects for political change in Iran and the role of the international community in the movement for democracy in Iran.

In the late 1970s, as an undergraduate at Sharif University of Technology in Iran and Illinois Institute of Technology, Mr. Sazegara was a leader in the Iranian student movement against the shah. During the 1979 revolution, he returned with Ayatollah Khomeini to Iran, where he served as a founder of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and as managing director of the National Radio of Iran (1979-1981). During the 1980s, he served as political deputy in the prime minister’s office, deputy minister of heavy industries, chairman of the Industrial Development and Renovation Organization of Iran, and vice minister of planning and budget.

Mr. Sazegara became disillusioned with the revolutionary government and left it in 1989. He later served as publisher of several reformist newspapers closed by regime hardliners, including Jamee, Toos, and Golestan-e-Iran. He was also managing director of Iran’s press cooperative company, whose membership included more than 450 Iranian journal and newspaper publishers. He earned his master’s degree in history at Iran’s Shahid Beheshti University, and in 1996 completed his doctoral thesis at the University of London on religious intellectuals and the Islamic revolution.

When his candidacy for president was rejected by the Guardian Council in 2001, he initiated a campaign for a referendum on replacing the Iranian constitution. Mr. Sazegara was arrested by the Ministry of Intelligence in 2003. While in jail, he went on two lengthy hunger strikes that caused deterioration in his health; he was permitted to go to London for medical treatment in 2004. Four months ago, Mr. Sazegara helped launch an internet petition for a referendum on the Iranian constitution that has so far garnered the support of more than 35,000 signatories as well as 300 political and cultural activists in Iran and abroad.

Read more about Mohsen Sazegara. (This document will download as a PDF.)

Expertise:   Iran, democratic reform

Current Research: Prospects for Iranian reform during the Ahmadinezhad presidency, the role of the international community in promoting Iranian democracy

Back to Top

Most Recent Analysis

Iran's 'Election':

What Happened? What Does It Mean?

June 18, 2009

An Open Letter to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

June 23, 2006

The Point of No Return:

Iran's Path to Democracy

April 6, 2006

Supreme Leader Khamenei's Responsibility for Iran's Present Situation

November 7, 2005

Challenges Facing Iran's New Government

August 11, 2005

The New Iranian Government:

Resurrecting Past Errors

July 15, 2005

The Equation of Fear

June 24, 2005


Toward a Fourth Republic?

June 2, 2005

'Lawful Crimes' in Iran

June 1, 2005

Twentieth Anniversary Soref Symposium:

Assessing the Winds of Change

May 20, 2005

See all analysis by this author