Skip to main content

The real 'back pain' behind head of Iranian broadcaster's resignation

There appear to have been bigger issues at play than "back pain" in the abrupt resignation of the head of the Iranian state broadcaster only 18 months on the job.

Among the buildings lining the northernmost stretch of Tehran’s legendary Valiasr Avenue stands an imposing glass structure that is home to one of the most crucial centers of power in Iran — the state-run broadcaster, Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB). It is often simply referred to as the Glass Building, which is ironic given that its occupant is one of the least transparent organizations in the country. This is a lesson that Mohammad Sarafraz learned the hard way.

Directly appointed in November 2014 by Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Sarafraz took the helm promising change and reform. On May 10, however, he became the first IRIB director in recent history to resign, after only 18 months in office. His three predecessors each served two consecutive five-year terms. Sarafraz cited problems with “back pain” as the reason for his resignation, but few are buying his explanation. Al-Monitor followed up on Sarafraz​'s resignation, speaking to several sources within IRIB.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 for annual access.