Mohammad Khatami (born October 14, 1943) was the fifth president of Iran. He was elected in June 1997, when he was approved as candidate by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, so that he could “soften” the West to end the sanctions against Iran. Khatami was often praised as "moderate" by the mainstream media. Amongst other things he didn't deny the Holocaust and praised the American civilization in contrast to other Iranian presidents. He impressed the Clinton administration that much that some sanctions were lifted and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright officially apologized for the deposition of Mohammed Mossadegh by the CIA in 1953. However, during Khatamis tenure dozens of writers and political activists were murdered and according to the CIA Khatami is probably among the "Iranian leaders who maintain that support to Hezbollah is an essential aspect of Tehran's effort to promote itself as leader of the Muslim world".