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Marjan Sheikholeslami Aleagha ـــ Part l


Marjan Sheikholeslami Aleagha

Part l

Marjan Sheikholeslami Aleagha was born in 1966 in a Shia Muslim family in Kermanshah, western Iran.

She is a descendant of Mohammad Bagher Vahid Behbahani. He along with his son Agha Mohammadali Behbahani, the Shia cleric in Isfahan (central Iran) were brought to Kermanshah in the 19th century. Marjan’s father was Kamal al-din.

In the 2000s, Marjan (Sheikholeslami Aleagha) was employed, in the so-called reformist newspapers, including Sobh-e Emrooz and Hambastegi, as a freelance journalist (she got paid per article).

But, strangely enough, she was appointed as the chief of state-run Miras Aria News Agency, affiliated to the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism (chaired by Mohammad Beheshti Shirazi at the time).

Then, she was assigned to head the parliamentary section of the Hambastegi newspaper (where the highest levels of security control are performed). Marjan was also elected as a member of the Association of Journalists Supporting Cultural Heritage!

In an interview withSazandegi newspaper* Mr.Beheshti praised Marjan Sheikholeslami Aleagha and said: ‘We had faced so many difficulties in the field of media, and she solved them. She ran a news agency in favor of releasing activities of the Cultural Heritage organization. The project amazingly succeeded.

When I was the head of the Cultural Heritage Organization, one of the major issues we encountered was, in the field of media," Beheshti said about Marjan.

Cultural heritage in the media was discussed only when an incident occurred. I worked hard at the time to streamline cultural heritage media activities. One of the main things done was creating a specialized news agency on the subject of cultural heritage and it was done by Marjan, which proved to be very successful.

"If the field of cultural heritage has a special presence and position in the media, I can say that the starting point and the results of it date back to the same period."

Apparently, the image of Marjan in Beheshti's mind is a clear and benevolent figure: "I did not know her before.

She was just a journalist. Of course, we were in contact with many journalists at the time, and among them all, I thought that she was more prepared and talented. I asked her to help us in this field, which she accepted. "She worked in this field for about three years, which I think was from 2000 to 2003.")

Under the presidency of Hossein Marashi, Marjan was assigned as the director of public relations at the organization. After Hamid Baghaei became the chair of the organization, she became more active.

Mohammad Atrianfar, a member of the 'Executives of Construction Party', said: "My acquaintance with her dates back to my cooperation with the Cultural Heritage Organization. She was in charge of public relations, and her responsibility dates back to the time of Mr. Beheshti. Marjan was an ordinary employee and a mediocre person in my view. It was clear that she also had a fixation on the field of cultural heritage and, of course, was supported by her boss Mr. Beheshti and worked at her task. As I was convinced, she had no fixation beyond her duties.

* Sazandegi newspaper belongs to the 'Executives of Construction Party', affiliated to the former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

She was nominated to the Islamic Consultative Assembly (Iranian parliament) twice – first time, for the 6th Parliament (2000-4), as the member of Islamic Iran Participation Front (affiliated to so-called reformists and former president Mohhamad Khatami) when she worked at Sobh-e Emrooz newspaper, chaired by Saeed Hajjarian*. She appeared in public with a slogan: ‘We will not leave Khatami alone’

After former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – whose antisemitism stance is obvious to everyone – took office (2005-13), she turned to the conservatives and hardliners.

Next time, Marjan was nominated to the 8th Parliament (2008-12) to the role of a conservative.

So, she named herself the role of a reformist along with the role of a conservative –which raised speculations about her task. Although, she eventually succeeded in presenting herself as a conservative, not a reformist.

‘She stepped in as a reformist nominee during the 6th Parliament election without any involvement with the Islamic Iran Participation Front and, worse, she used the reformists’ banner to deceive public opinion but, she was never a candidate in a city, a reformist told Khabar Online in 2019.

According to the reports, Marjan has been married three times. She married Majid Baghernejad for the first time, then, Gholam Hossein Khajeali, and finally she married the Shiite theologian Mehdi Khalaji (who was born in Qom which is the most religious city and was trained in Islamic theology by Grand Ayatollah Sheikh Hossein Vahid Khorasani).

Addressing the private sphere of people may be immoral, but when it comes to macroeconomic corruption, it should be shed light on and be investigated.

AmirHossein Etemadi, the U.S.-based Iranian political activist, wrote about Majid Baghernejad, Marjan’s first husband: ‘One of the people who had paid a group of refugees in Turkey, several years ago, to translate articles for the Persian Wikipedia was Majid. Majid Baghernejad, Marjan's ex-husband, was her main partner in bribery.’

But, who is Majid Baghernejad!

The Rooykard-e Emrooz newspaper released the missing puzzle of financial crime cases, in which Marjan and Majid had allegedly played a major role. Majid is a Canadian citizen and has been involved in all embezzling public funds in Iran.

Majid was appointed as the Arasbaran Cultural Center CEO when he was too young with no related knowledge or education. He was assigned to the supervisory body affiliated with Iran's Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance. He has a good relationship with Islamic Iran Participation Front too and signed a contract with the Ministry of Cultural Heritage. He quickly became involved in collusion with oil contracts and started investment in Turkey. Finally, he moved to Canada and started a new life –no one paid attention to his dark history and lifestyle.

Majid Baghernejad has played a pivotal role as a broker and influential fixer (headhunter) who uses his political capital without any trace. Through his ex-wife’s financial and political influence, he has registered companies (Deniz and Hatra) in Turkey to violate sanctions in favor of Tehran.

Majid Baghernejad has bought large quantities of oil and petrochemical products from Iran Petrochemical companies (through his relations with former CEO of Petrochemical Commercial Co. Reza Hamzehlu and Ali Ashrafriahi, the son-in-law of Nematzadeh, Rouhani's minister), but the money since paid has disappeared in return.

Marjan’s second husband, Gholam Hussein Khajeali was involved with the ‘Missing Iranian Oil Rig’ case during Ahmadinejad’s presidency. He was the former CEO of the Spanir Co., and a board member of Iran Marine Industrial Company (SADRA).

*After the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Hajjarian was involved in the formation of the intelligence apparatus of the newly founded Islamic Republic of Iran.

To Be Continued…

Read Persian version of Marjan Sheykholeslami Aleagha article 1

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