(1943 - )
Mohammad Khatami was born in 1943 in Ardakan in the Yazd Province of Iran, the son of the cleric Ayatollah Hajj Ruhollah Khatami. He studied theology in Qom and Esfahan and holds degrees in education and philosophy.
He served as a parliamentary deputy, chief editor of the pro-government newspaper Keyhan and as a moderate cleric. From 1982, he held the post of Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance but was forced to resign a decade later over accusations that he was too permissive in sanctioning books, magazines and films which hard-liners considered subversive.
He became director of the National Library, a teacher and presidential adviser.
His landslide win in the presidential elections in May 1997 represented a major setback for the conservative clergy who had held power since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
He was re-elected for a second term in June 2001 after winning just under 77% of the vote.
Iran's supreme leader is Ayatollah Ali Khamene'i.