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Wine bar on 2200 Penn opens doors
By Ella Mitchell, Contributing News Editor • June 14, 2024

Alumnus appointed as chief of staff by Iran’s new president

Updated August 5 at 1:00 p.m.

Iran’s newly inaugurated president tapped a two-time GW alumnus to serve as his chief of staff Sunday.

Mohammad Nahavandian, the new number two to the Iranian president, graduated from GW with a master of philosophy in 1990 and Ph.D. in economics in 1994, according to the University’s Office of Alumni Relations. He earned his bachelor’s degree from University of Tehran in 1977.

Mohammad Nahavandian earned a master’s in philosophy and a Ph.D. in economics from GW in the early 1990s. Photo used under the Wikimedia Commons license

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, who took the oath of office Sunday, appointed Nahavandian as chief of staff later that day, in a move described by news outlets as an outreach to the private sector.  Nahavandian was serving as president of Iran’s Chamber of Commerce.

Nahavandian’s PhD dissertation is entitled “Pricing of natural gas in the international market: An application of elasticity analysis” and was directed by economics professor Robert Trost, who is a former U.S. Marine.

Nahavandian dedicated his thesis to his father, “whose exemplary life taught me the lessons of love, care, and sacrifice.”

Nahavandian, 59, is set to play a key role in the new Iranian administration as Rouhani has pledged to hone in on economic issues as the country tries to climb back from crippling economic sanctions.

American officials hope Rouhani – an Islamic cleric who has been characterized as moderate – will set a starkly different tone from his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. 

“Should this new government choose to engage substantively and seriously to meet its international obligations and find a peaceful solution to this issue, it will find a willing partner in the United States,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said Sunday.

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