Iranís Government

 

 

 

Suffrage

 

16 years of age; universal

 

 

Executive Branch

 

Chief of state: Supreme Leader Ali Hoseini-KHAMENEI (since 4 June 1989)
head of government: President Mahmud AHMADI-NEJAD (since 3 August 2005); First Vice President Parviz DAVUDI (since 11 September 2005)
cabinet: Council of Ministers selected by the president with legislative approval; the Supreme Leader has some control over appointments to the more sensitive ministries
 

Note: also considered part of the Executive branch of government are three oversight bodies:

 

1)     Assembly of Experts (Majles-Khebregan), a popularly elected body of 86 religious scholars constitutionally charged with determining the succession of the Supreme Leader (based on his qualifications in the field of jurisprudence and commitment to the principles of the revolution), reviewing his performance, and deposing him if deemed necessary;

 

2)     Expediency Council or the Council for the Discernment of Expediency (Majma-e-Tashkise-Maslahat-e-Nezam), is a policy advisory and implementation board consisting of over 40 permanent members representing all major government factions and includes the heads of the three branches of government, and the clerical members of the Council of Guardians (see next); permanent members are appointed by the Supreme Leader for five-year terms; temporary members, including Cabinet members and Majles committee chairmen, are selected when issues under their jurisdiction come before the Expediency Council; the Expediency Council exerts supervisory authority over the executive, judicial, and legislative branches and resolves legislative issues on which the Majles and the Council of Guardians disagree and since 1989 has been used to advise national religious leaders on matters of national policy; in 2005 the Council's powers were expanded, at least on paper, to act as a supervisory body for the government;

 

3)     Council of Guardians of the Constitution or Council of Guardians or Guardians Council (Shora-ye Negaban-e Qanun-e Assassi) is a 12-member board made up of six clerics chosen by the Supreme Leader and six jurists recommended by the judiciary (which is controlled by the Supreme Leader) and approved by the Majles from a list of candidates recommended by the judiciary (which in turn is controlled by the Supreme Leader) for six-year terms; this Council determines whether proposed legislation is both constitutional and faithful to Islamic law, vets candidates for suitability, and supervises national elections
 

4)     Elections: Supreme Leader appointed for life by the Assembly of Experts; Assembly of Experts elected by popular vote for an eight-year term; last election held 15 December 2006 concurrently with municipal elections; Hojjat ol-Eslam Ali Akbar RAFSANJANI was elected Speaker in September 2007, following the July death of former Speaker Ayatollah Ali Akbar Meshkini-Qomi; president elected by popular vote for a four-year term (eligible for a second term and third nonconsecutive term); last held 17 June 2005 with a two-candidate runoff on 24 June 2005 (next presidential election slated for 2009)
Election results: Mahmud AHMADI-NEJAD elected president; percent of vote - Mahmud AHMADI-NEJAD 62%, Ali Akbar Hasheemi-RAFSANJANI 36%

 

 

Legislative Branch

 

Unicameral Islamic Consultative Assembly or Majles-e-Shura-ye-Eslami or Majles (290 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 20 February 2004 with a runoff held 7 May 2004 (next to be held in March 2008)
Election results: percent of vote - NA; seats by party - conservatives/Islamists 190, reformers 50, independents 45, religious minorities 5

 

 

Judicial Branch

 

The Supreme Court (Qeveh Qazaieh) and the four-member High Council of the Judiciary have a single head and overlapping responsibilities; together they supervise the enforcement of all laws and establish judicial and legal policies; lower courts include a special clerical court, a revolutionary court, and a special administrative court

 

 

Political Parties and Leaders

 

Formal political parties are a relatively new phenomenon in Iran and most conservatives still prefer to work through political pressure groups rather than parties, and often political parties or coalitions are formed prior to elections and disbanded soon thereafter; a loose pro-reform coalition called the 2nd Khordad Front, which includes political parties as well as less formal groups and organizations, achieved considerable success at elections to the sixth Majles in early 2000; groups in the coalition include: Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF), Executives of Construction Party (Kargozaran), Solidarity Party, Islamic Labor Party, Mardom Salari, Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution Organization (MIRO), and Militant Clerics Society (Ruhaniyun); the coalition participated in the seventh Majles elections in early 2004; following his defeat in the 2005 presidential elections, former MCS Secretary General and sixth Majles Speaker Mehdi KARUBI formed the National Trust Party; a new conservative group, Islamic Iran Developers Coalition (Abadgaran), took a leading position in the new Majles after winning a majority of the seats in February 2004; following the 2004 Majles elections, traditional and hardline conservatives have attempted to close ranks under the United Front of Principlists; the IIPF has repeatedly complained that the overwhelming majority of its candidates have been unfairly disqualified from the 2008 elections

 

 

Political Pressure Groups and Leaders

 

The Islamic Republic Party (IRP) was Iran's sole political party until its dissolution in 1987; Iran now has a variety of groups engaged in political activity; some are oriented along political lines or based on an identity group; others are more akin to professional political parties seeking members and recommending candidates for office; some are active participants in the Revolution's political life while others reject the state; political pressure groups conduct most of Iran's political activities; groups that generally support the Islamic Republic include Ansar-e Hizballah, Followers of the Line of the Imam and the Leader, Islamic Coalition Party (Motalefeh), Islamic Engineers Society, and Tehran Militant Clergy Association (Ruhaniyat); active pro-reform student groups include the Office of Strengthening Unity (OSU); opposition groups include Freedom Movement of Iran, the National Front, Marz-e Por Gohar, Baluchistan People's Party (BPP), and various ethnic and Monarchist organizations; armed political groups that have been repressed by the government include Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (KDPI), Komala, Mujahidin-e Khalq Organization (MEK or MKO), People's Fedayeen, Jundallah, and the People's Free Life Party of Kurdistan (PJAK)

 

 

International Organization Participation

 

ABEDA, CP, ECO, FAO, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, MIGA, NAM, OIC, OPCW, OPEC, PCA, SAARC, SCO (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMEE, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)

 

 

Diplomatic recognition in the U.S.

 

None; note - Iran has an Interests Section in the Pakistani Embassy; address: Iranian Interests Section, Pakistani Embassy, 2209 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007; telephone: [1] (202) 965-4990; FAX [1] (202) 965-1073

 

 

Diplomatic representation from the U.S.

 

None; note - the American Interests Section is located in the Swiss Embassy compound at Africa Avenue, West Farzan Street, number 59, Tehran, Iran; telephone 021 8878 2964 or 021 8879 2364; FAX 021 8877 3265

 

 

Government Type

 

Theocratic republic

 

 

Capital

 

Name: Tehran Ggeographic coordinates: 35 40 N, 51 25 E
Time difference: UTC+3.5 (8.5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

 

 

Administrative Divisions

 

30 provinces (ostanha, singular - ostan); Ardabil, Azarbayjan-e Gharbi, Azarbayjan-e Sharqi, Bushehr, Chahar Mahall va Bakhtiari, Esfahan, Fars, Gilan, Golestan, Hamadan, Hormozgan, Ilam, Kerman, Kermanshah, Khorasan-e Janubi, Khorasan-e Razavi, Khorasan-e Shemali, Khuzestan, Kohgiluyeh va Buyer Ahmad, Kordestan, Lorestan, Markazi, Mazandaran, Qazvin, Qom, Semnan, Sistan va Baluchestan, Tehran, Yazd, Zanjan

 

 

Independence

 

1 April 1979 (Islamic Republic of Iran proclaimed)

 

 

National Holiday

 

Republic Day, 1 April (1979)

 

 

Constitution

 

2-3 December 1979; revised 1989 to expand powers of the presidency and eliminate the prime ministership

 

 

Legal System

 

Based on Sharia law system; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

 

 

 

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