Mehdi Khalaji

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Mehdi Khalaji (b.1973) is a visiting fellow at the Washington Institute where, according to his biographical note he is "focusing on the role of politics in contemporary Shiite clericalism in Iran and Iraq."[1] Prior to this he worked as a journalist. "In 2000, Mr. Khalaji moved to Europe to join the BBC Persian Service and eventually became a broadcaster for the Prague-based Radio Farda, the Persian-language service of the U.S. government's Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. At Radio Farda, he produced news, features, and analysis on a range of Middle Eastern, Iranian, and Islamic issues." Khalaji joined the Washington Institute in August 2005.[1]Mehdi Khalaji and Mohsen Sazegara, "Challenges Facing Iran's New Government", Washington Institute, August 11, 2005.</ref>

Brief Biography

A native from Qom ,the largest center for Shi'a scholarship in the world, he studied the Islamic theology in Qom seminary, Philosophy in Tarbiat Modarres University and at the Sorbonne in Paris.

Later on he became a senior editor at Entekhab [2], a daily newspaper published in Tehran by Taha Hashemi, a close advisor to Ali Khamanei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, and a board member on The Islamic Propagation Office of the Islamic Seminary of Qom and the monthly Kiyan. As translator, he has translated numerous philosophical works by Nasr Abu Zayd, Burhan Ghalioun, the humanist Islamic scholar Mohammed Arkoun, and others into Persian.

He is currently a visiting fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Khalaji was a staff at the BBC Persian and later at Radio Farda.

Recent activities

In November 2006, he appeared on a panel run by American Foreign Policy Council, titled "Understanding the Iranian Threat", along with James Woolsey, Ilan Berman, and Patrick Clawson. The video of his presentation is available: Part one, Part two.

Khalaji vs. Derakhshan defamation lawsuit

In November 2007, Mr. Khalaji, who is a public figure, being a fellow at a neo-conservative think-tank called the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), filed a $2 million libel and defamation lawsuit [4] against Mr. Hossein Derakhshan, over one of his blog posts[5] in his Persian blog, in which he criticizes Khalaji for his alleged "service to the enemies of his people and humanity".

Earlier in August 2007, Derakhshan's Florida-base hosting company, Hosting Matters, had terminated his hosting account as a result of alleged intimidation by Khalaji. [6]

A public figure, such as Mr. Khalaji, has a very high standard to meet in proving that a libel has occurred, including:

  • that the allegedly libelous statement was a statement of fact, as opposed to an expression of opinion;
  • that the allegedly libelous statement was untrue; truth is an absolute defense to libel;
  • that the defendant acted with actual malice in publishing the allegedly false statement.

Failure to meet any of the above tests results in automatic dismissal of the libel claim. (See New York Times v. Sullivan.) It should also be noted that, in much of the United States, the filing of libel lawsuits so as to intimidate, suppress, or prevent the free expression of opinion is unlawful under both civil and criminal anti-SLAPP statutes, as it is a violation of rights retained by the people under the First Amendment. Such SLAPPs are routinely and severely punished.




  • Natani (novel in Persian, published in Berlin by Nashr-e Gardoon)

Articles by Khalaji

Articles and Resources


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External Articles

Wikipedia also has an article on Mehdi Khalaji. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.