GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
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
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