Seyyed Mohammad Khatami is an Iranian scholar, Shia theologian, and Reformist politician. He served as the fifth President of Iran from 2 August 1997 to 3 August 2005. He also served as Iran's Minister of Culture in both the 1980s and 1990s. He is currently one of the leaders of the Iranian Green Movement, and an outspoken critic of the President Ahmadinejad's government.
Hitherto little known, Khatami attracted global attention during his first election to the presidency when he captured almost 70% of the vote. Khatami had run on a platform of liberalization and reform. During his two terms as president, Khatami advocated freedom of expression, tolerance and civil society, constructive diplomatic relations with other states including those in the Asia and European Union, and an economic policy that supported a free market and foreign investment.
Khatami is known for his proposal of Dialogue Among Civilizations. The United Nations proclaimed the year 2001 as the United Nations' Year of Dialogue Among Civilizations, on Khatami's suggestion.
On 8 February 2009, Khatami announced that he would run in the 2009 presidential election. On 16 March, he announced he was withdrawing from the race in favor of his long-time friend and adviser, former Prime Minister of Iran, Mir-Hossein Mousavi.