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Spiritual leaderAli Khamenei
Parliamentary leaderMohammad Bagher Ghalibaf
Political Islam[2]
Vilayat Faqih
Political positionRight-wing
ReligionShia Islam
Executive branch
18 / 19 (95%)
Vice Presidents
10 / 10 (100%)
240 / 290 (83%)
Judicial branch
Chief JusticeYes
Oversight bodies
Assembly of Experts
66 / 88 (75%)
Guardian CouncilDominant[7]
Expediency CouncilDominant[8]
City Councils
21 / 21 (100%)
15 / 15 (100%)
13 / 13 (100%)
9 / 13 (69%)
13 / 13 (100%)
13 / 13 (100%)
6 / 13 (46%)
11 / 11 (100%)
9 / 11 (82%)

The Principlists (Persian: اصول‌گرایان, romanizedOsul-Garāyān, lit.'followers of principles[9] or fundamentalists[1][10]'), also interchangeably known as the Iranian Conservatives[11][12] and formerly referred to as the Right or Right-wing,[12][13][14] are one of two main political camps inside post-revolutionary Iran, the other being Reformists. The term hardliners that some western sources use in the Iranian political context usually refers to the faction,[15] although the principlist camp also includes more centrist tendencies.[16]

The camp rejects the status quo internationally,[5] but tends to preserve it domestically.[17]

Within Iranian politics, "principlist" refers to the conservative supporters of the Supreme Leader of Iran and advocates for protecting the ideological "principles" of the Islamic Revolution's early days.[18] According to Hossein Mousavian, "The Principlists constitute the main right-wing/conservative political movement in Iran. They are more religiously oriented and more closely affiliated with the Qom-based clerical establishment than their moderate and reformist rivals".[19]

A declaration issued by The Two Societies, which serves as the Principlists "manifesto", focuses on loyalty to Islam and the Iranian Revolution, obedience to the Supreme Leader of Iran, and devotion to the principle of Vilayat Faqih.[20]

According to a poll conducted by the Iranian Students Polling Agency (ISPA) in April 2017, 15% of Iranians identify as leaning Principlist. In comparison, 28% identify as leaning Reformist.[21]

The Principlists currently dominate the Assembly of Experts, as well as non-elective institutions such as the Guardian Council, the Expediency Discernment Council, and the Judiciary.[20]


Election results

Presidential elections

Year Candidate(s) Votes % Rank
1997 Ali Akbar Nategh-Nouri 7,248,317 24.87 2nd
2001 Ahmad Tavakkoli 4,387,112 15.58 2nd
2005/1 Mahmoud Ahmadinejad 5,711,696 19.43 2nd
Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf 4,095,827 13.93 4th
Ali Larijani 1,713,810 5.83 5th
Total 11,521,333 39.19 Runoff
2005/2 Mahmoud Ahmadinejad 17,284,782 61.69 1st
2009 Mahmoud Ahmadinejad 24,527,516 62.63 1st
Mohsen Rezaee 678,240 1.73 3rd
Total 25,205,756 64.36 Won
2013 Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf 6,077,292 16.56 2nd
Saeed Jalili 4,168,946 11.36 3rd
Mohsen Rezaee 3,884,412 10.58 4th
Ali Akbar Velayati 2,268,753 6.18 6th
Total 16,399,403 44.68 Lost
2017 Ebrahim Raisi 15,835,794 38.28 2nd
Mostafa Mir-Salim 478,267 1.16 3rd
Total 16,314,061 39.44 Lost
2021 Ebrahim Raisi 18,021,945 72.35 1st
Mohsen Rezaee 3,440,835 13.81 2nd
Total 21,462,780 86.16 Won

Parties and organizations




See also


  1. ^ a b Mehdi Mozaffari (2007), "What is Islamism? History and Definition of a Concept" (PDF), Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions, 8 (1): 17–33, doi:10.1080/14690760601121622, S2CID 9926518, In fact, Iranian 'Islamists' of our day call themselves 'Usul gara', which literally means 'fundamentalist', but in a positive sense. It designates a 'person of principles' who is the 'true Muslim'.
  2. ^ Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi (2013), "Women's Rights, Shari'a Law, and the Secularization of Islam in Iran", International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society, New York, 26 (3): 237–253, doi:10.1007/s10767-013-9143-x, S2CID 145213603, "Principlism" or osul-gera'i first appeared in the Iranian political lexicon during the second-term presidency of Mohammad Khatami as an alternative to eslāh-talabi or reformism. Although principlists do not share a uniform political platform, they all believed that the reformist movement would lead the Republic towards secularism. One of the most common elements of their political philosophy is the comprehensiveness of the shari'a. The responsibility of the Islamic state is to determine ways of implementing the mandates of Islam, rather than the reformist project of reinterpreting the shari'a to correspond to the demands of contemporary society.
  3. ^ Mohseni, Payam (2016). "Factionalism, Privatization, and the Political economy of regime transformation". In Brumberg, Daniel; Farhi, Farideh (eds.). Power and Change in Iran: Politics of Contention and Conciliation. Indiana Series in Middle East Studies. Indiana University Press. p. 47. ISBN 978-0253020680.
  4. ^ a b c Melody Mohebi (2014), The Formation of Civil Society in Modern Iran: Public Intellectuals and the State, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 129–131, ISBN 978-1-137-40110-6
  5. ^ a b Robert J. Reardon (2012), Containing Iran: Strategies for Addressing the Iranian Nuclear Challenge, RAND Corporation, pp. 81–82, ISBN 978-0833076373
  6. ^ Mehdi Moslem (2002), Factional Politics in Post-Khomeini Iran, Syracuse University Press, p. 135, ISBN 9780815629788
  7. ^ a b "Freedom in the World: Iran", Freedom House, 2017, archived from the original on 17 May 2017, retrieved 25 May 2017
  8. ^ "Iran conservatives tighten grip on top oversight body", Agence France-Presse, Yahoo, 14 August 2017, retrieved 14 August 2017
  9. ^ Axworthy, Michael (2016), Revolutionary Iran: A History of the Islamic Republic, Oxford University Press, p. 430, ISBN 9780190468965
  10. ^ Kevan Harris (2017). A Social Revolution: Politics and the Welfare State in Iran. Univ of California Press. p. 157. ISBN 9780520280816. This discourse was eventually tagged with the Persian neologism osulgarāi, a word that can be translated into English as "fundamentalist", since "osul" means "doctrine", "root", or "tenet". According to several Iranian journalists, state-funded media were aware of the negative connotation of this particular word in Western countries. Preferring not to be lumped in with Sunni Salafism, the English-language media in Iran opted to use the term "principlist", which caught on more generally.
  11. ^ Said Amir Arjomand; Nathan J. Brown (2013). The Rule of Law, Islam, and Constitutional Politics in Egypt and Iran. SUNY Press. p. 150. ISBN 978-1-4384-4597-7. "Conservative" is no longer a preferred term in Iranian political discourse. "Usulgara", which can be clumsily translated as "principlist", is the term now used to refer to an array of forces that previously identified themselves as conservative, fundamentalist, neo-fundamentalist, or traditionalist. It developed to counter the term eslahgara, or reformist, and is applied to a camp of not necessarily congrous groups and individuals.
  12. ^ a b Randjbar-Daemi, Siavush (2012). "Glossary of the most commonly-used Persian terms and abbreviations". Intra-State Relations in the Islamic Republic of Iran: The Presidency and the Struggle for Political Authority, 1989-2009 (Ph.D. thesis). Martin, Vanessa (Supervisor). Royal Holloway, University of London. p. 11. Open access material licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
  13. ^ Haddad Adel, Gholamali; Elmi, Mohammad Jafar; Taromi-Rad, Hassan (2012-08-31). "Jāme'e-ye Rowhāniyyat-e Mobārez". Political Parties: Selected Entries from Encyclopaedia of the World of Islam. EWI Press. p. 108. ISBN 9781908433022.
  14. ^ Robin B. Wright, ed. (2010), The Iran Primer: Power, Politics, and U.S. Policy, US Institute of Peace Press, p. 37, ISBN 978-1601270849
  15. ^ Masoud Kazemzadeh (2008), "Intra-Elite Factionalism and the 2004 Majles Elections in Iran", Middle Eastern Studies, 44 (2): 189–214, doi:10.1080/00263200701874867, S2CID 144111986, In Western sources, the term "hard-liners" is used to refer to the faction under the leadership of Supreme Leader Ali Khamanehi. Members of this group prefer to call themselves Osul-gara. The word osul (plural of asl) means "fundamentals", or "principles" or "tenets", and the verbal suffix -gara means "those who uphold or promote". The more radical elements in the hard-line camp prefer to call themselves Ommat Hezbollah. Ommat is a technical Arabic-Islamic term referring to people who are Muslim. Hezbollah literally means "Party of Allah". Before the rise of Ahmadinejad to the presidency in 2005, many official sources in the Islamic Republic referred to this group as mohafezeh-kar ("conservative"). Between 1997 and 2006, many Iranians inside Iran used the terms eqtedar-gara ("authoritarian") and tamamiyat-khah ("totalitarian") for what many Western observers have termed "hard-liners". Members of the reformist faction of the fundamentalist oligarchy called the hard-liners eqtedar-gara.
  16. ^ Banafsheh Keynoush (2012), "Iran after Ahmadinejad", Survival: Global Politics and Strategy, New York, 54 (3): 127–146, doi:10.1080/00396338.2012.690988, S2CID 153661674, What is important, however, is that the principlist camp now increasingly represents not just hard-liners, but also more centre-right factions.
  17. ^ Etel Solingen, ed. (2012), Sanctions, Statecraft, and Nuclear Proliferation, Cambridge University Press, p. 222, ISBN 9781107010444
  18. ^ Ladane Nasseri; Kambiz Foroohar; Yeganeh Salehi (June 16, 2013). "Iranians Celebrate Surprise Rohani Win as Reason for Hope". Bloomberg. Retrieved March 10, 2015.
  19. ^ Seyed Hossein Mousavian (2012), The Iranian Nuclear Crisis: A Memoir, Brookings Institution Press, p. 486, ISBN 9780870033025
  20. ^ a b SHAUL, BAKHASH (12 September 2011). "Iran's Conservatives: The Headstrong New Bloc". Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Tehran Bureau. Retrieved March 10, 2015.
  21. ^ "Poll Results of Popular Leaning Towards Principlists and Reformists", Iranian Students Polling Agency (ISPA) (in Persian), 28 April 2017, retrieved 1 June 2017 – via Khabaronline
  22. ^ a b c Sherrill, Clifton (2011). "After Khamenei: Who Will Succeed Iran's Supreme Leader?". Orbis. 55 (4): 631–47. doi:10.1016/j.orbis.2011.07.002.
  23. ^ Thaler; et al. (2010). Mullahs, Guards, and Bonyads: An Exploration of Iranian Leadership Dynamics. Sacramento, CA: RAND Corporation. ISBN 978-0-8330-4773-1.