President Hassan Rouhani
Hassan Rouhani, original name Hassan Feridon, (born November 12, 1948, Sorkheh, Iran), Iranian politician and cleric who became president of Iran in 2013.
Hassan Feridon grew up in Sorkheh, a small town in Semnān province. He began attending a seminary in Semnān province in the 1960s before traveling to Qom to complete his clerical training. He also studied at the University of Tehrān, graduating in 1972 with a degree in law.
He was arrested several times in the 1960s and ’70s for his opposition to the rule of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi and his support for the revolutionary cleric Ruhollah Khomeini; he eventually changed his surname from Feridon to Rouhani to elude SAVAK, Iran’s internal security service. He fled Iran in 1977 and joined Khomeini in exile in France in 1978.
Political career and role in nuclear policyRouhani returned to Iran after the Iranian Revolution of 1978–79. He was elected to the legislative assembly, known as the Majles, serving five consecutive terms between 1980 and 2000. In 2000 he was elected to the Assembly of Experts, and he was reelected in 2007 and 2016.
He also held a variety of posts relating to national security; during the Iran-Iraq War (1980–88) he served as a member of the High Council for National Defense and as the commander of Iran’s air defenses, and in 1989 he was appointed secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, a position that he occupied under Presidents Hashemi Rafsanjani (1989–97) and Mohammad Khatami (1997–2005).
While serving in government, Rouhani continued his academic work, earning a Ph.D. from Glasgow Caledonian University in 1999 with a dissertation on Islamic law.