Seyed Mohammad Marandi is a graduate of the University of Tehran and Birmingham University and professor of English Literature at the University of Tehran.
Marandi has appeared as a political commentator on international news networks such as CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, and Press TV, where he strongly supported the policies of the Islamic Republic with regard to its nuclear program and the pacification of the Iranian domestic demonstrations following the presidential elections of 2009. Recently, he has most frequently appeared on Russia Today to defend the position of the Islamic Republic against a possible joint American-Israeli airstrikes on Iran's nuclear facilities.
In the world of academy, Marandi's main focus of concern has been the project INAES. This institute, starting as a subsidiary arm to the Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literature of University of Tehran just a few years ago, is now a full-fledged independent center essentially concerned with post-colonial studies with a particular concentration on the critique of Orientalism, as promoted by such figures as Edward Said, Ziauddin Sardar, and Bill Ashcroft. Marandi's suggestion, in an interview in Persian, on the necessity of academy's politicization through the "employment of students to champion the cause of the Islamic Republic in foreign political media debates".
In line with this, Marandi has entered arguments over the representations of the Islamic Republic in the Western media. He has sharply criticized the "so-called 'Iran experts' in Western countries who consistently distort reality inside Iran" for their "constant caricature of Iranian society as well as their unfounded claims of fraud in the 2009 presidential elections." He has criticized Iranian-American writer Azar Nafisi, author of Reading Lolita in Tehran (2003) for misrepresentating Iranian society and Islam.
With regard to politics, in an article under the title Ayatollah Khamenei and a Principled Foreign Policy Marandi attributes the recent wave of liberation movements in the Middle East to the "culture of resistance advocated by Imam Khamenei".
Similarly, with respect to the storming of the British embassy in Tehran on 29 November 2011, some claim there are hints as to the direct role of the Islamic Republic in the incident, Marandi stands for a genuinely popular protest against the sanctions placed on Iran by the British government. However, later he added that "Things did get out of hand".
Concerning the assassination of the Iranian nuclear scientists, especially the recent assassination of Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan in Tehran on 11 January 2012, Marandi, by stating that all those scientists "have had their names given by the IAEA to third parties," has accused the IAEA of being complicit in the terrorist attacks. He has further stated that "It is obvious that Western intelligence agencies are carrying out these attacks, or if the Israelis are carrying them out, it is with the knowledge of the Europeans and Americans. Because these agencies are very closely aligned to one another, they cooperate extensively, they exchange information."
However, the Green Embassy Campaign, an organisation of former Iranian diplomatic delegates in European countries that were estranged from the Islamic Republic after the 2009 upheavals in Iran, has in turn implicitly accused the Islamic Republic of the assassination. According to the speaker of this campaign, based on solid evidence, while the assassinated scientist was critical of certain aspects of the Islamic Republic nuclear program, "accusing the IAEA [by the Islamic Republic] of being complicit in his assassination is meant for obtaining a pretext by which to prevent the inspectors of this organisation from meeting with Iranian nuclear scientists and inspecting the Islamic Republic secret nuclear sites henceforward."
With regard to the Iranian parliamentary elections on 16 March 2012, Marandi, relying on the Islamic Republic official turnout status, has stated that the Reformists' participation in the elections is an affirmation of the Islamic Republic's legitimacy and an indication that the much-disputed 2009 presidential elections was not a fraud:
The turnout was very high in the recent parliamentary election, around 65 percent… The decisions of former Presidents Khatami and Rafsanjani to participate, along with other reformists… reflect this. If turnout had been low, why would they vote and increase the "legitimacy" of the voting process and of the election results? … In fact, they knew that turnout was going to be high; they also recognized that such high turnout shows that the public trusts the voting process, that people feel their votes count, and that they are deeply committed to the Islamic Republic. By casting their ballots these reformist leaders have stated that they accept the accuracy, validity, and legitimacy of the voting process and that they have no link to the "greens." If they believed the results were unreliable, why would they vote, thereby strengthening a "corrupt" system? Instead, they have effectively stated that they do not accept claims that the 2009 presidential election or any previous presidential election was fraudulent, even though the voting process has not changed. Merely through their participation, they have given the voting process a clear vote of confidence.
Nevertheless, some sources question the validity of Marandi's claims by shedding light on the fact that the Reformists' participation in the largely-boycotted elections, contrary to their previous calls for withdrawal from it, constituted a dramatic turn-of-opinion by them smacking of 'betrayal', which shocked the Iranian public and drew harsh criticism from them: "Despite his initial stance on the urgency of the Reformists' withdrawal from the upcoming parliament elections in Iran in protest to the continuous crackdown on the civil society by the Islamic Republic – which many took as the total rejection of the elections by the Reformists, Seyyed Mohammad Khatami, the former president of Iran (1997-2005) and the key figure of the Reform Movement, last Friday attended, under suspicious circumstances, a ballot box in the provincial town of Damavand in northeast of Tehran to cast his vote, leaving in a state of shock many of the proponents and even opponents of the Reform Movement." "Many activists, infuriated at his taking part in the poll, accused Khatami of betraying the Green movement. Some said he had marked the end of his political career by 'turning a blind eye' to the hundreds of journalists and campaigners behind bars, including Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, who were placed under house arrest in February 2011."
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Marandi claimed that the late Ayatollah Hussein-Ali Montazeri (1922–2009) who was placed under house arrest by the Islamic Republic was associated with the People's Mujahedin of Iran. According to Marandi: "After his [Montazeri's] inner circle was discovered to be linked to Mujahidin terrorists based in Iraq, he was isolated by the reformists.... He is not a major player and has always been very critical".
Regarding the 2013 Iran presidential election, Marandi said in an article posted on Al Jazeera Website that Washington and the West need to “get over the pernicious wishful thinking that the Islamic Republic is not an enduring and legitimate system for Iranians living in their country. And the Islamic Republic's core features of participatory Islamist governance and foreign policy independence have broad appeal not just in Iran, but for hundreds of millions of Muslims across the Middle East.”
In a television debate following the controversial Iranian presidential elections, Fareed Zakaria called him a liar and a traitor to his country for his blatant hypocrisy.