Mehdi Khalaji leads a series of Tavaana webinars on Quran'ic interpretation. Mr. Khalaji is a writer and expert on Shiite Islam and Iran’s domestic politics. Mr. Khalaji is a senior fellow at The Washington Institute, focusing on Iranian politics as well as the politics of Shiite groups in the Middle East. Mr. Khalaji trained in the seminaries of Qom, the traditional center of Iran’s clerical establishment. There he studied theology and jurisprudence, researching widely on modern intellectual and philosophical-political developments in Iran and the wider Islamic and Western worlds. Mr. Khaliji also studied Shiite theology and exegesis at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes.
In Qom, and later in Tehran, Mr. Khalaji launched a career in journalism, first serving on the editorial board of a theological journal, Naqd va Nazar, and then the daily Entekhab. In addition to his own writing, he has translated the works of the humanist Islamic scholar Muhammad Arkoun. Mr. Khalaji has also worked for BBC Persian as a political analyst on Iranian affairs, eventually becoming a broadcaster for the Prague-based Radio Farda, the Persian-language service of the U.S. government’s Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. At Radio Farda, he produced news, features, and analysis on a range of Middle Eastern, Iranian, and Islamic issues.