Dr. Mahdi Khazali is one of Iran's most vocal political dissidents. He is an ophthalmologist, political activist and the director of the Hayyan Cultural Institute and Publications. His father, Ayatollah Abolghasem Khazali, was one of the codifiers of the Islamic Republic’s constitution and is a member of the Assembly of Experts. Ayatollah Khazali was such a strong supporter of the conservative president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, that he claimed that Ahmadinejad was approved by Imam Mahdi, the 12th Shiite Imam, himself.
Mehdi Khazali, on the other hand, was one of Ahmadinejad's strongest critics. Over the past few years, he has been repeatedly arrested for insulting the officials of the Islamic Republic. He has gone on hunger strikes numerous times to protest the judiciary's handling of his case.