) - Politics of Iran
The politics of Iran take place in a framework of Presidential Democracy and theocracy in a format of Syncretic politics that is guided by an Islamist ideology. The December 1979 constitution, and its 1989 amendment, define the political, economic, and social order of the Islamic Republic of Iran, declaring that Shi''a Islam of the Twelver school of thought is Iran''s official religion.
Iran has an elected president, parliament (or Majlis), and an "Assembly of Experts" (which elects the Supreme Leader), and local councils. According to the constitution all candidates running for these positions must be vetted by the Guardian Council (with the exception of those running for "Assembly of Experts") before being elected.
In addition there are representative elected of appointed organizations (usually under Supreme Leader''s control) trying to "protect the state''s Islamic character".
Main office holders
Office Name Party Since
|Supreme Leader ||Ali Khamenei ||CCA ||4 June 1989 |
|President ||Hassan Rouhani ||CCA ||3 August 2013 |
|Speaker of Parliament ||Ali Larijani ||ISE ||2 May 2008 |
|Chief Justice ||Sadeq Larijani ||Independent ||30 June 2009 |
- 1 Political conditions
- 2 Supreme Leader
- 3 Executive branch
- 4 Legislative branch
- 4.1 Parliament
- 4.2 Guardian Council
- 4.3 Expediency Council
- 5 Judicial branch
- 6 Assembly of Experts
- 7 Political parties and elections
- 7.1 Political pressure groups and leaders
- 8 Military
- 9 Administrative divisions
- 10 Local government
- 11 Public finance and fiscal policy
- 11.1 Budget
- 11.1.1 Revenues
- 11.1.2 Expenditures
- 11.1.3 External debts
- 11.1.4 2009–10
- 11.1.5 2010–11
- 11.1.6 2011–12
- 11.1.7 2012–13
- 11.1.8 2013–14
- 11.1.9 2014–15
- 12 Complexity of the system
- 13 International organization participation
- 14 See also
- 15 References
- 16 Literature
- 17 External links
The early days of the revolutionary government were characterized by political tumult. In November 1979 the American embassy was seized and its occupants taken hostage and kept captive for 444 days because of support of the American Government to Iranian dictator Sha. The eight-year Iran–Iraq War killed hundreds of thousands and cost the country billions of dollars. By mid-1982, a succession of power struggles eliminated first the center of political spectrum and then the Republicans leaving the revolutionary leader Ayatollah Khomeini and his supporters in power.
Iran''s post-revolution challenges have included the imposition of economic sanctions and suspension of diplomatic relations with Iran by the United States because of the hostage crisis, political support to Iraq and other acts of terrorism that the U.S. government and some others have accused Iran of sponsoring. Just like every third world countries, Emigration has cost Iran millions entrepreneurs, professionals, technicians, and skilled craftspeople (and their capital)." For this and other reasons Iran''s economy has not prospered. Poverty rose in absolute terms by nearly 45% during the first 6 years since Iraqi invasion on Iran started. and per capita income has yet to reach pre-revolutionary levels when Iraqi invasion ended in 1988.
The Islamic Republic Party was Iran''s ruling political party and for some years its only political party until its dissolution in 1987. After the war, new reformist/progressive parties had started to form. The war-torn country had no functioning political parties until the Executives of Construction Party formed in 1994 to run for the fifth parliamentary elections, mainly out of executive body of the government close to the then-president Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani. After the election of Mohammad Khatami in 1997, more parties started to work, mostly of the reformist movement and opposed by hard-liners. This led to incorporation and official activity of many other groups, including hard-liners. After the war ended in 1988, reformist and progressive candidates won four out of six presidential elections in Iran and Right-wing nationalist party of Mahmoud Ahmedinejad won two time.
The Iranian Government is opposed by a few armed terrorist groups, including the Mojahedin-e-Khalq, the People''s Fedayeen, and the Kurdish Democratic Party.
For other political parties see List of political parties in Iran.
Supreme Leader Main article: Supreme Leader of Iran
The most powerful political office in the Islamic Republic is that of the Supreme Leader, of which there have been two: the founder of the Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, and his successor, Ali Khamenei. Supreme Leader is appointed and supervised by Council of Experts which is a democratically elected body. Supreme leader is the Head of State with some Executive powers related to Defense, Religious affairs and Guardian Council(equivalent to Constitutional Court of Turkey).
Historically the Supreme Leader has remained aloof from election politics. However, in the 2009 election, some of the pronouncements by Ali Khamenei were perceived by many to favor the incumbent candidate.
The Leader appoints the heads of some powerful posts - the commanders of the armed forces, the director of the national radio and television network, the heads of the major religious foundations, the prayer leaders in city mosques, and the members of national security councils dealing with defence and foreign affairs. He also appoints the chief judge, the chief prosecutor, special tribunals and, with the help of the chief judge, half of the 12 jurists of the Guardian Council(Constitutional Council)– the powerful body that decides both what bills may become law and who may run for president or parliament. Also according to Iranian constitution the Supreme Leader asserts the authority of the president. He can veto the laws made by the parliament and legally he permits for presidential candidates to proclaim their candidacy.Also the declaration of war and peace is to be made by the Supreme Leader together with a two third majority of the Parliament
Executive branch Main article: President of Iran
The Constitution defines the President as the highest state authority after the Supreme Leader. The President is elected by universal suffrage, by those 18 years old and older, for a term of four years. Presidential candidates must be approved by the Council of Guardians prior to running. After being elected, the president must be appointed by the Supreme Leader. The President is responsible for the implementation of the Constitution and for the exercise of executive powers, except for matters directly related to the Supreme Leader. The President appoints and supervises the Council of Ministers, coordinates government decisions, and selects government policies to be placed before the legislature. Currently, 10 Vice-Presidents serve under the President, as well as a cabinet of 21 ministers, who must all be approved by the legislature. Unlike many other states, the executive branch in Iran does not control the armed forces. Although the President appoints the Ministers of Intelligence and Defense, it is customary for the President to obtain explicit approval from the Supreme Leader for these two ministers before presenting them to the legislature for a vote of confidence.
The current legislature of Iran is unicameral. Before the Iranian Revolution, the legislature was bicameral, with the senate (upper house) half elected, half appointed by the Shah. The senate was removed in the new constitution.
Parliament Main article: Islamic Consultative Assembly
The Parliament of Iran, or Majlis, comprises 290 members elected for four-year terms. The Parliament drafts legislation, ratifies international treaties, and approves the national budget. All Parliament candidates and all legislation from the assembly must be approved by the Council of Guardians.
Guardian Council Main article: Guardian Council
The Guardian Council (constitutional council)is composed of 12 jurists, including six clerics appointed by the Supreme Leader, and six jurists elected by the Parliament Majles from among the Muslim jurists nominated by the Head of the Judicial System. The Council interprets the constitution and may reject bills from parliament deemed incompatible with the constitution or Sharia (Islamic law). These are referred back to parliament for revision. In an exercise of its authority, the Council has drawn upon a narrow interpretation of Iran''s constitution to veto parliamentary candidates.
As of the early 1990s, the Guardian Council vets (approves) candidates for national election in Iran mostly due to high candidacy rate in elections. There were more than 6000 candidates standing for the 2013 Presidential election in Iran, but only the six most qualified candidates were approved by the council.
According to the CIA World Factbook, The Guardian Council is a part of the Executive branch of the government.
Expediency Council Main article: Expediency Discernment Council
The Expediency Council has the authority to mediate disputes between the Parliament and the Guardian Council (constitutional Council), and serves as an advisory body to the Supreme Leader, making it one of the most powerful governing bodies in the country.
Its members include heads of the three government branches, the clerical members of the Guardian Council and various other members appointed by the supreme leader for three-year terms. Cabinet members and parliamentary leaders also serve as temporary members when issues under their jurisdictions are under review.
Judicial branch Main article: Judicial system of Iran
The Supreme Leader appoints the head of the Judiciary, who in turn appoints the head of the supreme court and the chief public prosecutor. There are several types of courts including public courts that deal with civil and criminal cases, and "revolutionary courts" which deal with certain categories of offenses, including crimes against national security. The decisions of the revolutionary courts are final and cannot be appealed. The Special Clerical Court handles crimes allegedly committed by clerics, although it has also taken on cases involving lay people. The Special Clerical Court functions independently of the regular judicial framework and is accountable only to the Supreme Leader. The Court’s rulings are final and cannot be appealed.
Assembly of Experts Main article: Assembly of Experts
The Assembly of Experts, which meets for at least two days, twice annually, comprises 86 "virtuous and learned" clerics elected by adult suffrage for eight-year terms. Based on the laws approved by the first Assembly, the Council of Guardians has to determine candidates'' eligibility using a written examination. The Assembly elects the Supreme Leader and has the constitutional authority to remove the Supreme Leader from power at any time. As all of their meetings and notes are strictly confidential, the Assembly has never been known to challenge any of the Supreme Leader''s decisions.
Political parties and elections For other political parties see political parties in Iran. An overview on elections and election results is included in Elections in Iran
These are the most recent elections that have taken place.
Iranian presidential election, 2013
Candidate Party Votes %
| ||Hassan Rouhani ||Moderation and Development Party ||18,613,329 ||50.88 |
| ||Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf ||Society of Engineers ||6,077,292 ||16.46 |
| ||Saeed Jalili ||Revolutionary Stability ||4,168,946 ||11.31 |
| ||Mohsen Rezaee ||Development and Justice Party ||3,884,412 ||10.55 |
| ||Ali Akbar Velayati ||Islamic Coalition ||2,268,753 ||6.16 |
| ||Mohammad Gharazi ||Independent ||446,015 ||1.22 |
|Valid votes ||35,458,747 ||96.58 |
|Blank or invalid votes ||1,245,409 ||3.42 |
|Total votes cast ||36,704,156 ||100 |
|Registered voters/turnout ||50,483,192 ||72.70 |
|Sources: Ministry of Interior of Iran |
More info: Iranian presidential election, 2013
e • d Summary of the 2 March and 4 May 2012 Islamic Consultative Assembly election results
Parties and coalitions Votes % Seats % +/–
| ||Conservatives ||United Front of Conservatives ||19,087,397 ||59.7% ||98 ||34.8% ||–3 |
|Front of Islamic Revolution Stability ||43 ||14.8% ||–7 |
|People''s Voice ||19 ||6.5% ||+19 |
|Monotheism and Justice Party ||17 ||5.8% ||–27 |
|Insight and Islamic Awakening Front ||5 ||1.7% ||+4 |
|Total Conservatives ||182 ||62.8% ||–13 |
| ||Reformists ||Democratic Coalition of Reformists ||11,451,367 ||35.5% ||60 ||20.6% ||+19 |
|Labour Coalition ||11 ||3.7% ||+1 |
|Moderate Reformists ||4 ||1.3% ||+4 |
|Total Reformists ||75 ||25.9% ||+24 |
| ||Religious Minorities ||Armenians ||634,122 ||2.1% ||5 ||1.7% ||+3 |
|Assyrian and Chaldean (Catholic) ||4 ||1.3% ||+3 |
|Jewish ||3 ||1.1% ||+2 |
|Zoroastrian ||2 ||0.6% ||+1 |
|Total Religious Minorities ||14 ||4.8% ||+9 |
| ||Independents ||799,304 ||2.5% ||19 ||6.5% ||–20 |
|Total parliamentary seats ||290 ||100.0% ||±0 |
|Overall Statistics |
|Registered voters ||32,469,937 |
|Valid votes ||31,972,190 (98.4%) |
|Invalid votes ||497,747 (1.6%) |
|Domestic turnout ||66.4% |
|Sources: Ministry of Interior |
More info: Iranian legislative election
, 2012Political pressure groups and leaders
Active student groups include the pro-reform "Office for Strengthening Unity" and "the Union of Islamic Student Societies'';
- Groups that generally support the Islamic Republic include Ansar-e Hizballah, The Iranian Islamic Students Association, Muslim Students Following the Line of the Imam, Islam''s Students, and the Islamic Coalition Association. The conservative power base is said to be made up of a "web of Basiji militia members, families of war martyrs, some members of the Revolutionary Guard, some government employees, some members of the urban and rural poor, and conservative-linked foundations."
- opposition groups include the Freedom Movement of Iran and the Nation of Iran party;
- armed political groups that have been almost completely repressed by the government include Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK), People''s Fedayeen, Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan; the Society for the Defense of Freedom.
Military Main article: Military of Iran
The military and the Corps of the Guardians (often mistranslated as guards) of the Islamic Revolution (or Sepaah in Persian meaning the Corps) are charged with defending Iran''s borders and Baseej (Persian for Mobilization) militia are charged with maintaining both external and internal security.
Administrative divisions Main article: Provinces of Iran
Iran consists of 31 provinces (ostaan-haa, singular: ostan): Ardabil, Azarbayjan-e Gharbi, Azarbayjan-e Sharqi, Alborz (Karaj), Bushehr, Chahar Mahall va Bakhtiari, Esfahan, Fars, Gilan, Golestan, Hamadan, Hormozgan, Ilam, Kerman, Kermanshahan, North Khorasan, Khorasan, South Khorasan, Khuzestan, Kohkiluyeh va Buyer Ahmadi, Kordestan, Lorestan, Markazi, Mazandaran, Qom, Qazvin, Semnan, Sistan va Baluchestan, Tehran, Yazd, Zanjan. The provinces are each headed by a governor general. The provinces are further divided into counties, districts, and villages.
Local government Main article: City and Village Councils of Iran
Local councils are elected by public vote to 4-year terms in all cities and villages of Iran. According to article 7 in Iran''s Constitution, these local councils together with the Parliament are "decision-making and administrative organs of the State". This section of the constitution was not implemented until 1999 when the first local council elections were held across the country. Councils have many different responsibilities including electing mayors, supervising the activities of municipalities; studying the social, cultural, educational, health, economic, and welfare requirements of their constituencies; planning and coordinating national participation in the implementation of social, economic, constructive, cultural, educational and other welfare affairs.
Public finance and fiscal policy See also: Economy of Iran
, Economic history of Iran, Supreme Audit Court of Iran
, Trade policy in Iran and Monetary policy in Iran Budget See also: Bonyad and SetadGovernment budget deficit has been a chronic problem in Iran in the past. In 2004, about 45 percent of the government''s budget came from exports of oil and natural gas revenues and 31 percent came from taxes and fees.
Iran has two types of budget:Public or "General" Government Budget "Total" Government Budget; which includes state-owned companies
A unique feature of Iran''s economy is the large size of the religious foundations whose combined budgets make up more than 30% that of the central government.
Revenues See also: Taxation
in IranIran''s projected oil and gas projected revenues by the International Monetary Fund
. Officials in Iran estimate that Iran''s annual oil and gas revenues could reach $250 billion by 2015
once the current projects come on stream.
In 2004, about 45 percent of the government''s budget came from exports of oil and natural gas revenues, although this varies with the fluctuations in world petroleum markets and 31 percent came from taxes and fees. Overall, an estimated 50 percent of Iran''s GDP was exempt from taxes in FY 2004.
As of 2010, oil income accounts for 80% of Iran''s foreign currency revenues and 60% of the nation''s overall budget. Any surplus revenues from the sale of crude oil and gas are to be paid into the Oil Stabilization Fund (OSF). The approved "total budget", including state owned commercial companies, was $295 billion for the same period.
The Government seeks to increase the share of tax revenue in the budget through the implementation of the economic reform plan through more effective tax collection from businesses.
Expenditures See also: Iranian Economic Reform PlanNational Budget Expenditures for Social and Economic Purposes, Fiscal Year 2004. Government spending as percent of total budget was 6% for health care, 16% for education and 8% for the military in the period 1992–2000 and contributed to an average annual inflation rate of 14 percent in the period 2000–2008.
Because of changes in the classification of budgetary figures, comparison of categories among different years is not possible. However, since the Revolution the government''s general budget payments have averaged:
- 59 percent for social affairs,
- 17 percent for economic affairs,
- 15 percent for national defense, and
- 13 percent for general affairs.
For a breakdown of expenditures for social and economic purposes, see attached chart.
In FY 2004, central government expenditures were divided as follows:
- current expenditures, 59 percent, and
- capital expenditures, 32 percent.
- Other items (earmarked expenditures, foreign-exchange losses, coverage of liabilities of letters of credit, and net lending) accounted for the remainder.
Among current expenditures, wages and salaries accounted for 36 percent; subsidies and transfers to households accounted for 22 percent (not including indirect subsidies). Earmarked expenditures totaled 13 percent of the central government total. Between FY 2000 and FY 2004, total expenditures and net lending accounted for about 26 percent of GDP. According to the Vice President for Parliamentary Affairs, Iran''s subsidy reforms would save 20 percent of the country''s budget.
According to the head of the Department of Statistics of Iran, if the rules of budgeting were observed in this very structure, the government could save at least 30 to 35 percent on its expenses.
External debts See also: Central Bank of Iran
, Banking in Iran and Foreign direct investment in Iran
In 2013 Iran''s external debts stood at $7.2 billion compared with $17.3 billion in 2012.
Iran''s balance of payment (2003-2007)
Iran''s total debt service as percent of exports of goods services and income increased sixfold between 1990 and 1997
Iran''s oil vs non-oil real GDP growth projections.
Military expenditures (% GDP)
Financial situation of the Government 2007-2009 (In billion Iranian Rials)1)3)4)5)6)7)
Year 1386 (2007–08)
(realized) % of nominal GDP
(2007–08)Year 1387 (2008–09)
(approved budget)Year 1387 (2008–09)
(realized)Year 1391 (2012–13)
(realized)Revenues and payments
|191,815.3 ||11.4% ||217,155 ||239,741.4 ||395,166.7 ||Tax revenues (i.e. Income tax, Corporate tax, VAT, Customs fees etc.) |
|106,387.8 || ||121,598.1 ||139,597.1 ||173,036.5 ||(+) Other revenues (i.e. Public corporations'' dividend, Government services & other fees) |
|298,203.1 || ||338,753.1 ||379,338.5 ||568,203.2 ||= Revenues |
|(-) 421,334.1 ||16.1% ||(-) 621,126 ||(-) 564,290.0 ||(-) 889,993.2 ||(–) Expenditure payments/current (i.e. Government wages) (see also: Iranian targeted subsidy plan) |
|-123,131 ||-4.7% ||-282,372.9 ||-184,951.5 ||-321,790.0 ||= (+/-) Operational balance* |
|173,519.1 || ||298,865.6 ||215,650.3 ||425,526.5 ||Sale of oil and oil products (see also: Ministry of Petroleum of Iran & National Iranian Oil Company) |
|1,272.7 || ||3,095 ||986.5 ||2,994.9 ||(+) Others (Value of movable and immovable properties) |
|174,791.8 || ||301,960.6 ||216,636.7 ||428,521.4 ||= Transfer of capital assets |
|- 147,715.8 (-157,215.8)(2) ||5.6% ||(-) 251,573.8 ||(-) 213,495.8 ||(-) 152,277.4 ||(–) Acquisition of capital assets/development expenditures (in Transport, Urban and Rural Development and Housing Provision Plans in the Framework of Welfare and Social Security System) |
|27,076.1 (17,576.1)(2) || ||50,386.8 ||3,140.9 ||276,244.0 ||= Net transfer of capital assets |
|-123,131 ||-4.7% ||-282,372.9 ||-184,951.5 ||-321,790.0 ||+ Operational balance (see above for details*) |
|-96,054.9 (-105,554.9)(2) ||-3.7% ||-231,986.1 ||-181,810.6 ||-45,546.0 ||= Operational and capital balance (Operational balance + Net transfer of capital assets) |
|156,614.1 (166,114.0)(2) || ||267,771.6 ||218,260.0 ||67,696.1 ||Transfer of financial assets (i.e. Privatization proceeds, World Bank facilities, Sale of participation papers & Oil Stabilization Fund utilization) |
|(-) 60,559.2 || ||(-) 35,785.5 ||(-) 36,449.4 ||(-) 22,150.1 ||(–) Acquisition of financial assets (i.e. Repayment of external debts and obligations) |
|96,054.9 (105,554.9)(2) ||3.7% ||231,986.1 ||181,810.6 ||45,546.0 ||= Net transfer of financial assets (Transfer of financial assets – Acquisition of financial assets) |
Notes: 1) Since 2002, the latest International Monetary Fund Guidelines on government financial statistics have been used as a model to prepare annual budgetary acts. Accordingly, revenues are classified into “taxes and other revenues”, and “oil sales” which had earlier been classified as revenue are now referred to as "transfer of capital assets". 2) In 2007/08, it includes budget supplement at Rls. 9,500 billion. 3) The government budget does not include state revenues and expenses derived from state owned commercial entreprises. 4) The government budget does not account for subsides paid to state owned commercial enterprise. See also Subsidy reform plan. 5) Excluding special revenues and expenditures and the figure for transparency in the price (subsidy) of energy bearers. 6) For "Total Government Budget" (including state owned commercial companies), see Statistical Center of Iran. 7) Hidden spending and liability not included.
In Iran''s state budget for the Iranian calendar year 1388 (2009–2010), of the $102 billion earmarked for government spending,
- 53% will be funded through revenues from the sale of crude oil and gas,
- 28% will come from taxes and the remaining
- 19% from other sources such as the privatization program.
Oil revenues are calculated based on the average price of $37.50 per barrel at the US Dollar conversion rate of 9,500 Rials. Iran balances its external accounts around $75 per barrel.
The budget for Iranian year 1389 (2010–2011), which starts on March 21, amounts to $368.4bn, representing an increase of 31 per cent on the previous year and is based on a projected oil price of $60 a barrel compared with just $37.50 last year.
The public budget was $165 billion (1,770 trillion rials) in Iranian year 2011-2012. The Iranian Parliament also approved a total budget of $500 billion (5,170 trillion rials) that factors in $54 billion from price hikes and subsidy cuts and aside from the government (or public budget) also includes spending for state-owned companies. The budget is based on an oil price of $80 per barrel. The value of the US dollar is estimated at IRR 10,500 for the same period. the 2011-total budget shows a 45-percent increase compared with that of 2011 which stood at $368 billion.
The proposed budget for 2011–2012 amounts to 5.1 quadrillion rials (approximately $416 billion). The funding for running the government has been decreased by 5.6 percent and the government''s tax revenues have been envisaged to rise by 20 percent. The defense budget shows an increase of 127 percent. The government also is seeking higher sums for development, research, and health projects. Approved budget of 5,660 trillion Rials $477 billion is based on an oil price of $85 per barrel and the average value of the U.S. dollar for the fiscal year has been projected to be 12,260 rials, allowing the government to gain $53.8 billion from subsidy cut. The approved total state budget figure shows an 11% increase in Rial terms, in comparison to the previous year''s budget. Of this amount, $134 billion relates to the government''s general budget and the remaining $343 billion relates to state-owned companies and organizations. Of the $134 billion for the government''s general budget, $117 billion relates to operating expenditure and $17 billion is for infrastructure developments. The government''s general budget for 2012–13 shows a 3.5% decline in comparison to the previous year, while the budget for state-owned companies and organisations has risen by 18.5%. Revenues from crude oil make up 37% of the state''s total revenues in the budget. Revenues from taxes have been projected at 458 trillion Rials ($37 billion), which shows a 10% increase year-on-year. In the first half of 2012, Iran announced in Majlis that it has taken in only 25% of its budgeted annual revenue. According to Apicorp, Iran needs oil to average $127 a barrel in 2012 for its fiscal budget to break even.
In May 2013, the Iranian parliament approved a 7.27-quadrillion-rial (about $593 billion) national budget bill for 2013–14. The new national budget has forecast a 40% drop in oil revenues compared to the previous year''s projected figure. The bill has set the price of oil at $95 per barrel, based on the official exchange rate of 12,260 rials for a U.S. dollar, which has been fixed by the Central Bank of Iran. The budget law also includes income of 500 trillion Rials from the subsidies reform plan. Out of this amount, 410 trillion Rials is allocated for direct cash handouts to those eligible who have registered and for social funds.
Iran''s earmarked government spending for the year starting in March 2014 at $75 billion, calculated on an open-market exchange rate, with an overall budget ceiling estimated at about $265 billion. The draft budget estimates oil exports at about 1.1 million barrels per day (bpd). The 2014 budget assumes an average oil price of $100 per barrel, inflation at 21%, GDP growth at 3% and the official USD/IRR exchange rate at 26,000 Iranian rials. The budget bill permits the government to use more than $35 billion in foreign finance. Capital expenditure is set to rise by 9.7%. The administration has set the goal of 519 trillion rials, (about $20.9 billion) government''s income from implementation of the subsidy reform plan in budget bill and will be likely forced to double fuel prices. In February 2014, Parliament approved a total budget bill worth 7,930 trillion rials ($319 billion at the official exchange rate).
Complexity of the systemIran''s complex and unusual political system combines elements of a modern Islamic theocracy with democracy. A network of elected and unelected institutions influence each other in the government''s power structure.
According to the constitution, the Guardian Council oversees and approves electoral candidates for most national elections in Iran. The Guardian Council has 12 members, six clerics, appointed by the Supreme Leader and six jurists, elected by the Majlis from among the Muslim jurists nominated by the Head of the Judicial System, who is appointed by the Supreme Leader. According to the current law, the Guardian Council approves the Assembly of Experts candidates, which in turn supervise and elect the Supreme Leader.
The reformists say this system creates a closed circle of power. Iranian reformists, such as Mohammad-Ali Abtahi have considered this to be the core legal obstacle for the reform movement in Iran.
International organization participation
CP, ECO, ESCAP, FAO, G-15, G-24, G-77, GECF, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, International Maritime Organization, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, NAM, OIC, OPCW, OPEC, PCA, SCO (observer), United Nations, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WIPO, WFTU, WEF, WHO, WMO, WTO (observer)
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