Iranian Media

Kayhan Newspaper
By: Shapour Ghasemi, 2006


Head Logo of Kayhan Newspaper
Kayhan (in Persian, meaning Universe in English) is one of the most influential newspapers in Iran, published by the Kayhan Institute. It is managed by the representative of the Supreme Leader at the Institute. Originally established during the Pahlavi era, in 1942, it became the most famous and respected newspaper of its time. After the Islamic Revolution, Kayhan fell under the control of the new government of the Islamic Republic. As it is directly under the supervision of the Office of the Supreme Leader, it is regarded as the most conservative Iranian newspaper.

The Kayhan Institute also publishes special foreign editions, which include the English-language Kayhan International, the Persian-language Kayhan-e-Hawaei (Kayhan by Air), and an Arabic-language version of Kayhan, all primarily intended for overseas distribution. The Institute also publishes special interest magazines for women, Zan-e-Rouz (Today's Woman), youth, and sports fans. In 2003, Kayhan Caricature, a popular humor magazine run by cartoonists, was shut down by the Institute.

Dr. Mostafa Mesbahzade
Kayhan was founded by Abdul-Rahman Faramarzi as proprietor and Dr. Mostafa Mesbahzadeh as editor-in-chief in February 1943. Later the role of Faramarzi and Mesbahzadeh at Kayhan was reversed. Mesbahzadeh was born in Iran in 1908. Mesbahzadeh studied law in France at the Sorbonne. Before starting his publishing career, he worked as a law professor in Tehran. The name, Kayhan (in English: Universe), was apparently taken from the name of the respected French newspaper Le Monde (the World). At the beginning it reflected the progressive and patriotic ideas. Some very famous figures of Iranian left movement like Khosrow Golsorkhi, who was executed during the Shah's era, and Rahman Hatafi, who died in prison after the Islamic Revolution, were the journalists of Kayhan.

Mesbahzadeh also served as a Senator under the Shah, later his newspaper, Kayhan was perceived as being very pro-Shah. Kayhan was published in Iran as well as in London and had a circulation of over one million papers when Mesbahzadeh was running it before the 1979 revolution. The Kayhan empire included publications in various languages and in subjects ranging from sports to women's magazines to the daily newspaper, itself.

When the Shah of Iran was overthrown in 1979, all of Mesbahzadeh's assets were seized, including the publishing plant which was the main headquarters of Kayhan Newspaper. Under the guidance of Mesbahzadeh the London office of Kayhan continued its work and published a weekly issue, known as Kayhan London, but it currently has a small circulation in comparison to what it once pre-revolution times had.

Mesbahzadeh died at the age of 98 in November, 2006 in Los Angeles, California.