Mehdi Khalaji (b.1973) is a visiting fellow at the Washington Institute where, according to his biographical note he is "focusing on the role of politics in contemporary Shiite clericalism in Iran and Iraq." Prior to this he worked as a journalist. "In 2000, Mr. Khalaji moved to Europe to join the BBC Persian Service and eventually became 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." Khalaji joined the Washington Institute in August 2005.Mehdi Khalaji and Mohsen Sazegara, "Challenges Facing Iran's New Government", Washington Institute, August 11, 2005.</ref>
A native from Qom ,the largest center for Shi'a scholarship in the world, he studied the Islamic theology in Qom seminary, Philosophy in Tarbiat Modarres University and at the Sorbonne in Paris.
Later on he became a senior editor at Entekhab , a daily newspaper published in Tehran by Taha Hashemi, a close advisor to Ali Khamanei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, and a board member on The Islamic Propagation Office of the Islamic Seminary of Qom and the monthly Kiyan. As translator, he has translated numerous philosophical works by Nasr Abu Zayd, Burhan Ghalioun, the humanist Islamic scholar Mohammed Arkoun, and others into Persian.
In November 2006, he appeared on a panel run by American Foreign Policy Council, titled "Understanding the Iranian Threat", along with James Woolsey, Ilan Berman, and Patrick Clawson. The video of his presentation is available: Part one, Part two.
Khalaji vs. Derakhshan defamation lawsuit
In November 2007, Mr. Khalaji, who is a public figure, being a fellow at a neo-conservative think-tank called the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), filed a $2 million libel and defamation lawsuit  against Mr. Hossein Derakhshan, over one of his blog posts in his Persian blog, in which he criticizes Khalaji for his alleged "service to the enemies of his people and humanity".
Earlier in August 2007, Derakhshan's Florida-base hosting company, Hosting Matters, had terminated his hosting account as a result of alleged intimidation by Khalaji. 
A public figure, such as Mr. Khalaji, has a very high standard to meet in proving that a libel has occurred, including:
- that the allegedly libelous statement was a statement of fact, as opposed to an expression of opinion;
- that the allegedly libelous statement was untrue; truth is an absolute defense to libel;
- that the defendant acted with actual malice in publishing the allegedly false statement.
Failure to meet any of the above tests results in automatic dismissal of the libel claim. (See New York Times v. Sullivan.) It should also be noted that, in much of the United States, the filing of libel lawsuits so as to intimidate, suppress, or prevent the free expression of opinion is unlawful under both civil and criminal anti-SLAPP statutes, as it is a violation of rights retained by the people under the First Amendment. Such SLAPPs are routinely and severely punished.
- Blogfather: Times are hard for Iran's online free-speech pioneer (November 2007). Ottawa Citizen
- A neo-con censorship: A Threat to All of Us (August 2007). Monthly Review
- Hoder Shutdown, Shakedown (August 2007). Pars Arts
- Shutting Down Hoder (August 2007). Iranian
- Natani (novel in Persian, published in Berlin by Nashr-e Gardoon)
Articles by Khalaji
- Iran Feels the Heat: International Pressure Emboldens Tehran’s Domestic Critics
- Perils and Promise of U.S.-Iranian Negotiations
- Iran’s Shadow Government in Lebanon
- Iran: International Pressure and Internal Conflict
- Creating Effective International Pressure for Human Rights in Iran
- More articles
Articles and Resources
- Mehdi Khalaji, Visiting Fellow", The Washington Institute, accessed February 2008.
- Expert Biography
- Team, Center for Liberty in the Middle East, accessed November 26, 2011.
- E:M | Mehdi Khalaji is the only person on the planet who has indirectly worked for or given advice to both Khamanei's office and Cheney's in less than five years. His recent work for the right-wing American think tanks and his shameful endorsement and help to American Foreign Policy Council's disgusting anti-Iran campaign has made him the filthiest traitor I have ever seen in my life. I love to see his face (and that of similar traitors such as Mohsen sazegara, Ali Afshari and to some degree Akbar Ganji) when the U.S. has no choice but to finally accept that its time in the Middle East has passed. (in Persian)
- Global Voices Online » Hossein Derakhshan’s blog is suspended