Islamic Republic of Iran
Formation1 April 1979; 45 years ago (1979-04-01) (Islamic Republic formed)
21 August 1980; 43 years ago (1980-08-21) (first Islamic Consultative Assembly session)
Founding documentConstitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Legislative branch
LegislatureIslamic Consultative Assembly
Meeting placeBaharestan
Executive branch
LeaderSupreme Leader (since 1979)
President (since 1989)
Prime Minister (1979–1989)
AppointerAssembly of Experts (Supreme Leader)
Direct popular vote (President)
Main organCabinet
Departments19 Ministries
Judicial branch
CourtJudicial system of the Islamic Republic of Iran
SeatCourthouse of Tehran

The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran (Persian: نظام جمهوری اسلامی ایران, romanizedNezâm-e Jomhuri-ye Eslâmi-ye Irân), known simply as Nezam (Persian: نظام, romanizedNezâm, lit.'the system'),[1] is the ruling state and current political system in Iran, in power since the Iranian Revolution and fall of the Pahlavi dynasty in 1979.[2]

Its constitution, adopted by an ex post facto referendum,[3] calls for separation of powers, with executive, legislative and judicial systems.[4] The Supreme Leader of Iran is the country's head of state and commander-in-chief of the armed forces.[5]

It is currently one of the three governments using the title Islamic republic.[6][7]


Main article: History of the Islamic Republic of Iran

See also: Background and causes of the Iranian Revolution

Joint Tripartite Meeting of Iranian Government, 2 June 1987. Speaker of the Parliament Hashemi Rafsanjani (left), President Ali Khamenei (middle) and Head of Supreme Court Mousavi Ardebili (right).

The Islamic Republic of Iran was created shortly after the Islamic Revolution. The first major demonstrations with the intent to overthrow the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi began in January 1978,[8] with a new, Islam-based, theocratic Constitution being approved in December 1979, ending the monarchy. The Shah left Iran for exile[9] in January 1979 after large strikes and demonstrations against him and his regime paralyzed the country. Ayatollah Khomeini would return in February of the same year after a long period of exile, greeted in the capital of Tehran by several million Iranians.[10] The final collapse of the Pahlavi dynasty occurred shortly after on 11 February when Iran's military declared itself officially "neutral" after guerrillas and rebel troops overwhelmed forces loyal to the Shah in street fights throughout the country.

After the victory of the Islamic Revolution, a referendum was held by Interim Government of Iran on the 30 and 31 March 1979 (10 and 11 Farvardin 1358), asking people to vote either Yes or No to an Islamic Republic.[11] The results of the referendum were announced soon after by Ayatollah Khomeini on 2 April 1979, with 98.2 percent of the Iranian citizens voting in favor of an Islamic Republic.[12][13]


Main article: Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran

See also: Assembly of Experts for Constitution

On 2–3 December 1979, the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran was ratified by a popular referendum. In this referendum, 99.5 present of Iranian voters approved the constitution.[14][15] Ten years later, in the summer of 1989, Iranian voters would approve a set of amendments to the Constitution of 1979 in another referendum.[16][17] The constitution has been called a "hybrid" of "theocratic and democratic elements". While Articles 1 and 2 vest sovereignty in God, Article 6 "mandates popular elections for the presidency and the Majlis, or parliament".[18] All democratic procedures and rights are subordinate to the Guardian Council and the Supreme Leader, whose powers are spelled out in Chapter Eight (Articles 107–112).[18][19]


Further information: Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist

See also: Ideology of the Iranian Revolution

The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran is officially a theocratic republic.[16] Article 2 of the Constitution explains the principles of the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran:

Article 2

The Islamic Republic is a system based on belief in:

1.the One God (as stated in the phrase "There is no god except Allah"), His exclusive sovereignty and the right to legislate, and the necessity of submission to His commands; 2.Divine revelation and its fundamental role in setting forth the laws; 3.the return to God in the Hereafter, and the constructive role of this belief in the course of man's ascent towards God; 4.the justice of God in creation and legislation; 5.continuous leadership (imamah) and perpetual guidance, and its fundamental role in ensuring the uninterrupted process of the revolution of Islam; 6.the exalted dignity and value of man, and his freedom coupled with responsibility before God; in which equity, justice, political, economic, social, and cultural independence, and national solidarity are secured by recourse to: 1. Continuous 'ijtihad of the fuqaha' possessing necessary qualifications, exercised on the basis off the Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Ma'sumun, upon all of whom be peace; 2. Sciences and arts and the most advanced results of human experience, together with the effort to advance them further;

3.Negation of all forms of oppression, both the infliction of and the submission to it, and of dominance, both its imposition and its acceptance.[20]

Political structure

See also: Politics of Iran

Political system of the Islamic Republic of Iran


Main article: Supreme Leader of Iran

See also: Office of the Supreme Leader of Iran

Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei

The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, officially called the Supreme Leadership Authority in Iran, is a post established by Article 5 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran in accordance with the concept of the Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist.[20] This post is a life tenure post.[21] According to article 110 of the constitution, the Supreme Leader delineates the general policies of the Islamic Republic. Article 109 is about the Leadership Qualifications and Article 110 mentions to Functions and duties of the Supreme Leader. According to this Article he is the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces. Also, according to Article 57 the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary system shall operate under the superintendence of Supreme leader.[20] The Islamic Republic has had two Supreme Leaders: Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who held the position from Iranian revolution in 1979 until his death in 1989, and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has held the position since Khomeini's death.

Assembly of Experts

Main article: Assembly of Experts for Leadership

The Assembly of Experts or Assembly of Experts of the Leadership is a deliberative body of eighty-eight (88) Mujtahids. The members are elected by direct public voting for eight years.[22]

According to articles 107, 109, and 111, the duties of this assembly include electing and removing the Supreme Leader of Iran.[20][23]

The last voting took place on 26 February 2016.[22] The new assembly was opened on 24 May 2016 and selected Ahmad Jannati as chairman of the Fifth Assembly.[24]


Main article: Legislature of Iran

The Legislature of the Islamic Republic of Iran has two parts: the Islamic Consultative Assembly and the Guardian Council. The Articles 62-99 are about the Legislature of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Consultative Assembly

Main article: Islamic Consultative Assembly

Articles 62-90 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran are about the Islamic Consultative Assembly. In Article 71, it is mentioned that the Islamic Consultative Assembly can establish laws on all matters, within the limits of its competence as laid down in the Constitution. According to Article 62, the Islamic consultative Assembly is constituted by the representatives of the people elected directly and by secret ballot. Article 64 notes that there are to be two hundred seventy members of the Islamic Consultative Assembly which, keeping in view the human, political, geographic and other similar factors, may increase by not more than twenty for each ten-year period from the date of the national referendum of the year 1368 of the solar Islamic calendar.[20] The Parliament currently has 290 representatives, changed from the previous 272 seats since the 18 February 2000 election. The most recent election took place on 26 February 2016 and the new parliament was opened on 28 May 2016.[25]

Guardian Council

Main article: Guardian Council

The Guardian Council is a part of the legislature that acts in many ways as an upper house to the Consultative Assembly. This council reviews the legislation by the Consultative Assembly to examine its compatibility with Islam and the Constitution.[26]

Articles 91-99 are about the Guardian Council. According to article 91, it has 12 members, half its members are faqihs that are chosen by the Supreme Leader and the other six members are jurists who are elected by the Islamic Consultative Assembly from among the Muslim jurists nominated-by the Chief Justice of Iran.[20]


See also: Presidential Administration of Iran and Cabinet of Iran


Main article: President of Iran

In the Islamic Republic of Iran, the president is the second person of government and the head of government. He is the highest nominally popularly elected official in Iran, although he answers to the Supreme Leader of Iran, who functions as the country's head of state. Chapter 9 (Articles 133–142) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran sets forth the qualifications for presidential candidates and procedures for election, as well as the powers and responsibilities as "functions of the executive". These include signing treaties and other agreements with foreign countries and international organizations, administering national planning, budget and state employment affairs and appointing ministers subject to the approval of Parliament.[20]

According to article 114 the President of Iran is elected for a four-year term by the direct vote of the people and may not serve for more than two consecutive terms nor more than eight years.[20]

Vice president

Main article: Vice President of Iran


Main article: Cabinet of Iran

Judicial system

Main article: Judicial system of the Islamic Republic of Iran

See also: Islamic Revolutionary Court, Supreme Court of Iran, and Special Clerical Court

The judiciary of the Islamic Republic of Iran is an independent power, the protector of the rights of the individual and society, responsible for the implementation of justice, and entrusted with the following duties:

  1. investigating and passing judgement on grievances, violations of rights, and complaints; the resolving of litigation; the settling of disputes; and the taking of all necessary decisions and measures in probate matters as the law may determine;
  2. restoring public rights and promoting justice and legitimate freedoms;
  3. supervising the proper enforcement of laws;
  4. uncovering crimes; prosecuting, punishing, and chastising criminals; and enacting the penalties and provisions of the Islamic penal code;
  5. taking suitable measures to prevent the occurrence of crime and to reform criminals. (Article 156 of Constitution).[20]

Other institutions

See also: Supreme National Security Council and Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution

Expediency Discernment Council

Main article: Expediency Discernment Council

The Expediency Discernment Council is an administrative assembly appointed by the Supreme Leader[27] and was created upon the revision to the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran on 6 February 1988.[28] According to article 112 of Constitution[20] It was originally set up to resolve differences or conflicts between the Consultative Assembly and the Guardian Council, but "its true power lies more in its advisory role to the Supreme Leader".

Members of the council are chosen by the Supreme Leader every five years.[29]

Sadiq Amoli Larijani is the chairman of this council.

Councils of Iran

Main article: City and Village Councils of Iran

According to Article 7 the city and village Councils are one of the decision-making and administrative organs of the country. The chapter seven (article 100–106) of Iran's constitution is about these local Councils. According to article 100: In order to expedite social, economic, development, public health, cultural, and educational programmes and facilitate other affairs relating to public welfare with the cooperation of the people according to local needs, the administration of each village, division, city, municipality, and province will be supervised by a council to be named the Village, Division, City, Municipality, or Provincial Council. Members of each of these councils will be elected by the people of the locality in question. Qualifications for the eligibility of electors and candidates for these councils, as well as their functions and powers, the mode of election, the jurisdiction of these councils, the hierarchy of their authority, will be determined by law, in such a way as to preserve national unity, territorial integrity, the system of the Islamic Republic, and the sovereignty of the central government.[20]

Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting

Main article: Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting

The Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) according to Constitution is the only radio and television services in Iran.[30] According to article 175 of Constitution the appointment and dismissal of the head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting rests with the Leader. A council consisting of two representatives each of the President, the head of the judiciary branch and the Islamic Consultative Assembly shall supervise the functioning of this organization.[20]

Armed forces

Main article: Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran

General Staff of Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran

Main article: General Staff of Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran

The Supreme Leader appoints General staff of Armed forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran which is the highest military body in Iran, with an aim to implement policy, monitor and coordinate activities within Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran.[31] Major general Mohammad Hossein Bagheri is the current chief of this staff.[32][33]

Islamic Republic of Iran Army

Main article: Islamic Republic of Iran Army

The Islamic Republic of Iran Army is the "conventional military of Iran"[34] and part of Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The army is tasked to protect the territorial integrity of Iranian state from external and internal threats and to project power.[34] According to article 143 of Constitution the Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for guarding the independence and territorial integrity of the country, as well as the order of the Islamic Republic.[20] Artesh has its own Joint Staff[35] which coordinates its four separate service branches: Ground Forces, Air Force, Navy and Air Defense Base.[34] The current chief of Army is MG Abdolrahim Mousavi.

Islamic Revolution Guard Corps

Main article: Islamic Revolution Guard Corps

The Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (Sepah) is a branch of Iran's Armed Forces, established after the Islamic revolution on 5 May 1979.[36] Article 150 says about Sepah that The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, organized in the early days of the triumph of the Revolution, is to be maintained so that it may continue in its role of guarding the Revolution and its achievements.[20] MG Hossain Salami is the current commander of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps.[37]

Law Enforcement Force of the Islamic Republic of Iran

Main article: Law Enforcement Force of the Islamic Republic of Iran

Law Enforcement Force of the Islamic Republic of Iran is the uniformed police force in Iran. It was established in 1992 by merging the Shahrbani, Gendarmerie and Committee of Iran into a single force, it has more than 60,000 police personnel served under the Ministry of Interior, including border patrol personnel.[38]

See also


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  2. ^ "تاریخچه انقلاب اسلامی ایران از ابتدا تاکنون" [The history of Islamic revolution]. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  3. ^ "همه پرسی قانون اساسی جمهوری اسلامی" [The Highest Legal Document: Referendum on the Constitution of the Islamic Republic]. Archived from the original on Apr 27, 2019. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  4. ^ "قوه مقننه در قانون اساسی جمهوری اسلامی ایران". Archived from the original on Dec 25, 2019. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  5. ^ "جایگاه نیروهای مسلح در نظام جمهوری اسلامی ایران". Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  6. ^ "کدام کشورها، نظام جمهوری اسلامی دارند؟". Shabestan News Agency. Archived from the original on Feb 10, 2019. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  7. ^ "The Gambia: President Adama Barrow pledges reforms". Al Jazeera. 28 Jan 2017. Archived from the original on Feb 19, 2020. Retrieved 2019-03-09.
  8. ^ "The Iranian Revolution". Macrohistory : World History. Archived from the original on Dec 21, 2023.
  9. ^ Kabalan, Marwan J. (2020). "Iran-Iraq-Syria". In Mansour, Imad; Thompson, William R. (eds.). Shocks and Rivalries in the Middle East and North Africa. Georgetown University Press. p. 113. After more than a year of civil strife and street protests, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi left Iran for exile in January 1979.
  10. ^ Ruhollah Khomeini Archived 2007-10-08 at the Wayback Machine, Encyclopædia Britannica.
  11. ^ Parvin Paidar (1997). Women and the Political Process in Twentieth-Century Iran. Cambridge University Press. p. 226. ISBN 978-0-521-59572-8.
  12. ^ Ibrahim Moussawi (16 January 2012). Shi'ism and the Democratisation Process in Iran: With a focus on Wilayat al-Faqih. pp. Chapter Six. ISBN 978-0-86356-831-2.
  13. ^ Thierry Coville (1994). L'économie de l'Iran islamique: entre l'Etat et le marché. Institut français de recherche en Iran. p. 46. ISBN 978-2-909961-08-8.
  14. ^ Mahmood T. Davari (1 October 2004). The Political Thought of Ayatollah Murtaza Mutahhari: An Iranian Theoretician of the Islamic State. Routledge. p. 138. ISBN 978-1-134-29488-6.
  15. ^ Dilip Hiro (5 September 2013). Iran under the Ayatollahs (Routledge Revivals). Routledge. ISBN 978-1-135-04380-3.
  16. ^ a b Vijeya Rajendra; Gisela T. Kaplan; Rudi Rajendra (2003). Iran. Marshall Cavendish. pp. 29. ISBN 978-0-7614-1665-4. Iranian constitutional referendum, 1989.
  17. ^ Roger Howard (June 2004). Iran in Crisis?: The Future of the Revolutionary Regime and the US Response. Zed Books. p. 120. ISBN 978-1-84277-475-5.
  18. ^ a b Francis Fukuyama (28 July 2009). "Francis Fukuyama: Iranian constitution democratic at heart - WSJ". WSJ.
  19. ^ "A Detailed Analysis of Iran's Constitution - World Policy Institute". Archived from the original on 2014-05-06. Retrieved 2016-07-01.
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n M. Mahmood (2006). The Political System of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Gyan Publishing House. p. 132. ISBN 978-81-7835-520-7.
  21. ^ Bozorgmehr Sharafedin (13 December 2015). "Iran's possible next Supreme Leader being examined: Rafsanjani". REUTERS. Retrieved 2 July 2016.
  22. ^ a b "Iran election: Counting starts after high turnout". BBC News. 26 February 2016. Retrieved 3 July 2016.
  23. ^ "Assembly of Experts within Iran Political Structure". Ivan Sahar. Retrieved 3 July 2016.
  24. ^ "Hard-line cleric becomes speaker of Assembly of Expert". SALON. 24 May 2016. Retrieved 3 July 2016.
  25. ^ Large scale turn out at polls in IRI March Majlis Elections IRNA
  26. ^ "Council of Guardians". Retrieved 3 July 2016.
  27. ^ Expediency Council BBC News
  28. ^ Foreign press and media department Archived 2007-08-21 at the Wayback Machine
  29. ^ "Islamic Republic of Iran Expediency Discernment Council of the System". Archived from the original on 2013-05-22. Retrieved 2016-07-03.
  30. ^ "Structure of Iran's State-Run TV IRIB" (PDF). Open Source Center. 16 December 2009. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  31. ^ Forozan, Hesam (2015), The Military in Post-Revolutionary Iran: The Evolution and Roles of the Revolutionary Guards, Routledge, pp. 51–53, ISBN 978-1-317-43074-2
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  33. ^ "The appointment of MG Bagheri as the chief of Staff of Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran". The database of Leadership Office. Retrieved 3 July 2016.
  34. ^ a b c Simon, Rita J.; Abdel-Moneim, Mohamed Alaa (2011), A Handbook of Military Conscription and Composition the World Over, Lexington Books, pp. 152–153, ISBN 978-0-7391-6752-6
  35. ^ Hossein Aryan (November 15, 2011), The Artesh: Iran's Marginalized and Under-Armed Conventional Military, Middle East Institute, retrieved July 3, 2016
  36. ^ IISS Military Balance 2006, Routledge for the IISS, London, 2006, p. 187
  37. ^ "Iran changes Revolution Guards commander: TV". Reuters. 1 September 2007. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  38. ^ Cordesman, Anthony H.; Al-Rodhan, Khalid R. (June 28, 2006). "The Gulf Military Forces in an Era of Asymmetric War - Iran" (PDF). Center for Strategic and International Studies. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-06-12. Retrieved 2016-07-04.
State of Iran Preceded byInterim Government of Iran Islamic Republic 1979–present Incumbent