He was born on 14 December 1960 to a Persian clerical family in the Noghan district of Mashhad. His father, Seyed Haji, died when he was 5.
Raisi is married to Jamileh Alamolhoda, daughter of Mashhad Friday Prayers Imam, Ahmad Alamolhoda.
She is an associate professor at Tehran’s Shahid Beheshti University and also president of the university’s Institute of Fundamental Studies of Science and Technology. They have two daughters and two grandchildren. One of their daughters studied at Sharif university and the other one at Tehran university.
Growing up in a clerical family, Raisi received a religious education and began attending the seminary in Qom when he was 15. There, he studied under several prominent scholars, including Khamenei.
When his education came up during the presidential debates, he denied that he has only six grades of classical education, saying he holds a PhD in law in addition to his seminary education.
When he entered the influential seminary in Qom just years before the 1979 revolution that brought about the Islamic Republic, many Iranians were dissatisfied with the governance of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, who was ultimately deposed.
Raisi was purportedly a participant in some of the events that forced the shah into exile and set up the new clerical establishment under Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
Raisi has served in several positions in Iran’s judicial system, such as Deputy Chief Justice (2004–2014), Attorney General (2014–2016), and Chief Justice (2019-present).
He was also Prosecutor and Deputy Prosecutor of Tehran in the 1980s and 1990s, during which he oversaw the execution of thousands of political dissidents and prisoners. He was Custodian and Chairman of Astan Quds Razavi, a bonyad, from 2016 until 2019.
He is also a member of Assembly of Experts from South Khorasan Province, being elected for the first time in the 2006 election. He is the son-in-law of Mashhad Friday prayer leader and Grand Imam of Imam Reza shrine, Ahmad Alamolhoda.
Raisi ran for president in 2017 as the candidate of the conservative Popular Front of Islamic Revolution Forces, losing to moderate incumbent President Hassan Rouhani, 57% to 38.3%.
He did not congratulate Rouhani on his re-election as the president, and asked the Guardian Council to look into “violations of the law” before and during the elections, with 100 pages of attached documentation.
Another fact about Iran’s next president Ebrahim Raisi, he was one of the four people in the prosecution committee, responsible for the execution of thousands of political prisoners in Iran in 1988 which is labeled Death committee by Islamic Republic of Iran’s opposition groups and some western media.
Raisi is one of nine Iranian officials listed in November 2019 subjected to sanctions by the United States Department of State due to alleged human rights abuses. Similarly, Raisi is also sanctioned by the European Union.
He is sanctioned by the US Office of Foreign Assets Control in accordance with Executive Order 13876. He is accused of crimes against humanity by international human rights organizations and United Nations special rapporteurs.
During his time at the judiciary, messaging app Signal was banned earlier this year after a surge in popularity, as was the voice chat app Clubhouse when it became massively popular in the run-up to the elections.
All major social media and messaging apps are blocked in Iran, with the exception of Instagram and WhatsApp.
Raisi successfully ran for president a second time in 2021, succeeding Hassan Rouhani, who was term-limited. The election had a 48.8% turnout, and 62% went to Raisi.
3.7 million of 28.9 million votes were not counted, likely because they were blank or otherwise invalid protest votes.
Almost 600 candidates, 40 of which were female, registered in the election, of which 7 men were approved a month before the election by the 12 jurists and theologians on the Guardian Council (an unelected body that has the final decision on candidate validity based on the strength of ‘the candidates’ qualifications’ ).
Like Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the leader wears a black turban, which signifies that he is a sayyid – a descendent of the Prophet Muhammad.
Raisi is referred to as a likely successor to the 82-year-old Khamenei when he passes away.