Kayhan is one of the most influential newspapers in Iran, published by the Kayhan Institute. It is currently managed by Hossein Shariatmadari, who is also the representative of the Supreme Leader at the Institute. Originally established during the Pahlavi era, it became the most famous and respected newspaper of its time. After the Iranian 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. Its offices are located on Ferdowsi Street in Tehran, near Ferdowsi Square.
The Kayhan Institute also publishes special foreign editions, which include the English-language Kayhan International (managed by Hamid Najafi), the Persian-language Kayhan-e-Havaee (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-Rouze (Today's Woman), youth, and sports fans. In 2003, Kayhan Caricature, a popular humour magazine run by cartoonists, was shut down by the Institute.
Kayhan was founded by Abdul-Rahman Faramarzi as proprietor and Dr. Mostafa Mesbahzadeh as editor-in-chief on 27 May 1942. 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 was apparently taken from the name of the respected French newspaper Le Monde (the World) . Mesbahzadeh also served as a Senator under the Shah and hence, 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, under the editorship of Shapour Namazi. 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 were the main headquarters of Kayhan Newspaper. The London offices of Kayhan continued under the guidance of Mesbahzadeh, but it currently has a small circulation in comparison to what it once had pre-revolution times. They publish Kayhan Weekly
Mesbahzadeh died at the age of 98 in November, 2006 in Los Angeles, California.
Mesbahzadeh was an active philanthropist during his tenure at the helm of Kayhan.