Constitution: A hybrid of democracy, religion
The Islamic Revolution is the name given to the Iranian revolution of 1979, when the ruling US-supported monarchy was overthrown and the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was forced into exile.
The country held a national referendum to become an Islamic republic and approve a new constitution- a hybrid of democracy and unelected religious leadership. It appointed Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the revolution, the supreme leader of the country.
Before he died in 1989, he made it known that he wanted Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to succeed him.
Supreme leader: Iran’s de facto ruler
Iran’s supreme leader has the final say in all important matters of the country, such as ties with foreign nations and Iran’s nuclear aspirations.
He appoints the Guardian Council, the country’s election authority. He also appoints key posts in the intelligence services and the armed forces, including the powerful Revolutionary Guard. Additionally, he confirms the president’s election.
In theory, the supreme leader is appointed by a body of clerics whom voters elect. But in practice, this body – the Assembly of Experts – has answered to the supreme leader.
Khamenei, 70, was appointed supreme leader for life in 1989.
Guardian Council: Theological veto power
The unelected Guardian Council is the second most influential body in Iranian politics. It consists of six theologians whom the supreme leader picks and six jurists nominated by the judiciary and approved by Iran’s parliament.
Filed under: Iran
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