Iranians shocked as former Tehran mayor confesses to killing wife

Al-Monitor – Mitra Ostad, the second wife of former politician Mohammad Ali Najafi, was found dead in her northwest Tehran flat around noon May 28. According to a police report, the 35-year-old victim had been shot in the chest and an arm. As the story flooded news outlets and social media, perhaps few Iranians would have pointed the finger of blame toward a veteran Reformist known for his tranquil demeanor. But Najafi would shock everyone. Only hours after the killing, he was interviewed on state TV publicly confessing to the crime.

Najafi is a senior Reformist figure with a significant portfolio of top executive posts including nine years of service as minister of education. In 2013, he was nominated by President Hassan Rouhani to lead the ministry again, but he failed to secure a parliamentary confidence vote. The parliament, controlled by conservatives, rejected his nomination on the grounds that Najafi had been involved in the 2009 “sedition,” a term Iran’s hard-liners apply to the deadly post-election protests that gripped Iran following the disputed presidential elections that year that saw Mahmoud Ahmadinejad win a second term in office.

Yet, adamant about keeping Najafi within his circle, Rouhani appointed him one of his deputies as head of the Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, a post he resigned from only six months later in January 2014.

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