The politics and government of Iran takes place in the framework of a republic with Islamist ideology. The December 1979 constitution, and its 1989 amendment, define the political, economic and social order of the Islamic Republic of Iran. It declares that Shi'a Islam of the Jaafari (Usuli) school of thought is Iran's official religion.
The Supreme Leader of Iran is responsible for the delineation and supervision of the general policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Supreme Leader is Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, controls the military intelligence and security operations; and has the only power to declare war. The heads of the judiciary, state radio and television networks, the commanders of the police and military forces and six of the twelve members of the Council of Guardians are appointed by the Supreme Leader. The Assembly of Experts (Majlis-Khebregan) elects and dismisses the Supreme Leader on the basis of qualifications and popular esteem - none have ever been dismissed. The Assembly of Experts is responsible for supervising the Supreme Leader in the performance of legal duties.
The Constitution defines the President as the highest state authority after the Supreme Leader. The President is elected by universal suffrage, by those 15 years old and older, for a term of four years. Presidential candidates must be approved by the Council of Guardians prior to running. 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 Defence, 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. The Majlis-e Shura-ye Eslami (Islamic Consultative Assembly), comprises 290 members elected for four-year terms. The Majlis drafts legislation, ratifies international treaties, and approves the national budget. All Majlis candidates and all legislation from the assembly must be approved by the Council of Guardians. As of the early 1990s, the Guardian Council approves candidates for national election in Iran.
The Expediency Council has the authority to mediate disputes between Majlis and the Council of Guardians, and serves as an advisory body to the Supreme Leader, making it one of the most powerful governing bodies in the country.
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.
conventional long form: Islamic Republic of Iran
conventional short form: Iran
local long form: Jomhuri-ye Eslami-ye Iran
local short form: Iran
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