What made martyr Hossein Amir Abdollahian beloved among the people of the Region?

TEHRAN :- The immense popularity of Hossein Amir Abdollahian is evident from the massive crowds that gathered to welcome his body and attend his funeral, as well as from the numerous ceremonies held in his honor across Iran, even in its most remote cities.

These gatherings, commemorating him and other martyrs of the May 19 incident, have earned them the title “martyrs of service.”

The people of Iran fondly remember Amir Abdollahian for his ever-present smile, immaculate attire, humble demeanor, and thoughtful disposition. His popularity was also clearly reflected in the overwhelming vote of confidence he received from parliamentarians on August 25, 2021. With 270 affirmative votes, 10 abstentions, and only 6 negative votes, Amir Abdollahian became the 13th foreign minister after the victory of the Islamic Revolution, setting a record for the highest vote of confidence among all foreign ministers since the revolution.

Further analysis reveals that Amir Abdollahian’s appeal extended beyond Iran’s borders. His regional popularity became particularly evident during his staunch support for Palestine, especially following Operation Al-Aqsa Storm. The reactions from people across the region after his martyrdom on May 19 indicate that they regarded him as a “brave, efficient, constructive, and justice-seeking diplomat who pursued collective interests.”

What, then, is the secret behind the widespread admiration and acceptance of Martyr Amir Abdollahian, even among the elites, leading the Leader of the Islamic Revolution to describe him as a “Mujahid and activist” minister?

In this note, I will explore five key factors that contributed to his enduring legacy.

1-Personal Characteristics

Hossein Amir Abdollahian, who lost his father at the tender age of six, grew up in the Shadabad neighborhood in the southwest of Tehran, now part of the city’s 18th district. At fourteen, during the victory of the Islamic Revolution, he actively participated in demonstrations against the Shah’s dictatorship, much like many Iranian teenagers of that era. His journey into diplomacy began in September 1987 when he was admitted to the Faculty of International Relations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He married in 1995, and from his early days as a student, he steadily rose through the ranks of the ministry.

Throughout various stages of his life—whether on the battlefront during the Iran-Iraq War, participating in Quranic classes at Shadabad Grand Mosque as an active member of the Basij, or serving as a middle manager in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and later in embassies—Amir Abdollahian was consistently recognized for his kindness, warmth, perpetual smile, moral integrity, and honesty. He was known for his calm demeanor, refraining from anger or blame, respecting the dignity of others, speaking ill of no one, and being a problem solver for those around him.


Despite his attention to formalities in foreign meetings, Martyr Amir Abdollahian led a simple personal life, eschewing aristocratic luxuries. His home and car were modest, far from resembling a palace or villa. He was hospitable, frequently inviting colleagues and students (he was a professor at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs until his martyrdom) to his office, inquiring about the lives of his friends, colleagues, and old neighbors. He embodied the quintessential “ordinary citizen,” who, if not for security concerns, would have preferred commuting to work by private car or subway.

3-Battle Records for Iran

At sixteen, when Saddam invaded Iran in September 1980, Amir Abdollahian volunteered numerous times to go to the front lines. He sustained injuries and became a veteran due to chemical gas inhalation during the war. His valor in defending the homeland against foreign aggression made him a revered figure in the eyes of the people. In Iran, individuals who voluntarily serve or fight for the cause of the Islamic Revolution or the country are held in high esteem, and Amir Abdollahian’s dedication and sacrifices significantly contributed to his widespread popularity.

4-Work features

Martyr Hossein Amir Abdollahian was renowned as a “hard-working, innovative, and wise” diplomat throughout his career. His reputation was solidified during his tenure as an expert in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a middle manager, and later as ambassador to Bahrain. His role as Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab-African Affairs, particularly following the onset of the Islamic Awakening, regional crises, and the rise of the ISIS threat from 2012 onwards, showcased his capabilities to both the public and the elite. Although he had met with General Qasem Soleimani during negotiations with the Americans amid the Iraq crisis in 2007 and earlier, it was during this turbulent period that his talents gained the trust and admiration of General Soleimani and senior officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Reports from those years depicted Amir Abdollahian as a brave, intelligent, and reliable diplomat.

5-Resistance and connection of field and diplomacy

Amir Abdollahian understood from his experiences that “field” and “diplomacy” are two essential pillars of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s foreign policy, each incomplete without the other. The “field” encompasses people, resistance, ideology, martyrdom, revolutionary ideals, and the pursuit of independence and justice, while “diplomacy” represents the techniques to communicate these ideals on the international stage. Even before his appointment as minister, Amir Abdollahian was recognized as a symbol of the synergy between field and diplomacy. Therefore, following Ayatollah Raisi’s victory in the June 2021 elections, it was widely expected that Amir Abdollahian would be nominated as the proposed foreign minister.

6- Strategic perspective on international and regional developments

Martyr Amir Abdollahian’s approach to regional and global developments was characterized by “realistic idealism.” This perspective guided his early ministerial announcement to pursue a “balanced foreign policy, dynamic diplomacy, and intelligent interaction.” He believed that one of the crucial prerequisites for the country’s development was the collective advancement of the region. In his view, development, security, and independence were not commodities to be bestowed by external powers but were to be achieved through collective regional cooperation. He understood that peace and security in the region were unattainable until the Palestinian issue was resolved in favor of its indigenous people and the colonial powers either left the region or redefined their relations based on mutual respect. His steadfast support for the resistance and efforts to bolster the “axis of resistance” were driven by this blend of idealistic and realistic outlooks.

Allah karam moshtaghi is the Second Secretary of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Beirut.


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