Born in Mashhad, Iran. A student of Ayatollah Hadi Milani (d. 1975) in Mashhad and of Muhammad Husayn Burujirdi (d. 1962) and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (d. 1989) in Qom. Engaged in political agitation from 1963 to 1978 and was repeatedly arrested. Member of the Revolutionary Council, 1979–1980; briefly headed Sipah-i Pasdaran-i Inqilab-i Islami, 1979. Was the Friday mosque prayer leader in Tehran, 1979–1981. Served as president of the republic 1981–89.