Country Listing

Iran Table of Contents



Government: Islamic Republic under Constitution of 1979, with Ayatollah Sayyid Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini as faqih (see Glossary) for life and ultimate decision maker. Executive branch included elected president, responsible for selecting prime minister and cabinet, which must be approved by parliament, or Majlis (see Glossary), elected legislative assembly. Judiciary independent of both executive and Majlis. Council of Guardians, consisting of six religious scholars appointed by faqih and six Muslim lawyers approved by Majlis, ensured conformity of legislation with Islamic law.

Politics: Islamic Republican Party, created in 1979, dissolved in 1987 because its factions made it unmanageable. Iran Freedom Movement, a nonreligious political party, existed in 1987 but had been intimidated into silence. Opposition political parties existed in exile abroad: monarchists, democrats, Kurds, Islamic groups, and Marxists. Regime stressed mass political participation through religious institutions, such as mosques, rather than political parties. Factories, schools, and offices had Islamic associations similar to mosque voluntary associations. Fervent religious zeal and support for the Revolution promoted by the Pasdaran (Pasdaran- e Enghelab-e Islami, or Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or Revolutionary Guards).

Administrative Divisions: Country divided into twenty-four provinces (ostans), each under a governor general (ostandar); provinces subdivided into counties (shahrestans), each under a governor (farmandar). Most administrative officials appointive and answerable to central Ministry of Interior. In addition, each county had clerical imam jomeh chosen from among county senior clergy. Imam jomeh served as representative of faqih.

Foreign Affairs: Policy of Islamic revolutionary government based on export of Islamic revolution and liberation of Islamic and Third World countries generally. Other major policy was independence from both West and East, especially United States, the "Great Satan," and Soviet Union, the "Lesser Satan." War with Iraq, which began in 1980, had been very costly in men and matériel. War ended with Iran's acceptance of a cease- fire in July 1988.

Data as of December 1987