Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran

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Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Emblem of Iran.svg
Created October 24, 1979
Ratified July 28, 1982
Location Assembly of Experts
Author(s) Members of Assembly of Experts

The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran[1][2] was adopted by referendum on October 24, 1979, and went into force on December 3 of that year, replacing the Constitution of 1906.[3] It was amended on July 28, 1989.[4] The constitution has been called a "hybrid" of "theocratic and democratic elements". While articles One and Two vest sovereignty in God, article six "mandates popular elections for the presidency and the Majlis, or parliament."[5] However all democratic procedures and rights are subordinate to the Guardian Council and the Supreme Leader, whose powers are spelled out in Chapter Eight (Articles 107-112).[5][6]

History[edit]

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This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Iran

The draft constitution published by the provisional government of Mehdi Bazargan in June 1979 was modeled on the 1958 constitution of the French Fifth Republic. The offices of the President and the Prime Minister were retained for the executive branch of government from the French model.[7]

1989 Amendments[edit]

On 24 April 1989, Ayatollah Khomeini issued a decree convening an Assembly for Revising the Constitution. It made several changes in the constitution, in Articles 5, 107, 109, 111, eliminating the need for the Leader to be a marja or to be chosen by popular acclaim.[8] It made permanent the Expediency Discernment Council to work out disagreements between the Parliament and Council of Guardians, and eliminated the post of Prime Minister. The amendments were thought to be established because no marja had given strong support for Khomeini's policies - [9] The amendments were approved by the voting public in August 1989 (in same election as Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was elected to the first of two terms as President of Iran).[10]

Preamble[edit]

The constitution begins by stating that the "anti-despotic movement for constitutional government [1906-1911], and anti-colonialist movement for the nationalization of petroleum" in 1950s failed because of lack of religious coloring thereunder. Moreover, the "central axis" of the theocracy shall be Quran and hadith.

Preamble further states: "The Assembly of Experts for Constitution...fram[ed] the Constitution...[after input] by the government...with the hope that this century will witness the establishment of a universal holy government and the downfall of all others."[11] (See also: Mahdi and Mohammed al-Mahdi)

Chapter I [Article 1 to 14]: General Principles[edit]

Article 1 (Form of Government)[edit]

Article 1 states that the form of Government in Iran is that of an Islamic Republic. It explains this form is due to the referendum passed by 98% of the eligible voters of Iran and gives credit to Imam Khomeini for the victorious revolution.

Article 2 (Foundation Principles)[edit]

Article 2 defined an Islamic Republic as a system based on the belief:

  • There is only one God.
  • Understanding God's divine nature is fundamental in setting laws
  • Human beings return to God after death.
  • God is just.
  • Leadership shall continue the revolution of Islam.

Article 2 goes on to state that human beings have dignity, value and freedom with responsibility to God. From that concept, several other governing concepts (for example equity & justice) are stated to be secured by:

  • That the leadership be qualified in regard to the Qur'an and the Sunnah.
  • The government should advance the arts and sciences.
  • Oppression in any form is not acceptable.

Article 3 (State Goals)[edit]

Article 3 states the objective of the Islamic Republic is to direct all of its resources to a number of goals. These goals cover general topics in governance. For example:

  • Support good moral values based on faith
  • Fight all forms of vice and corruption
  • Raise public awareness through the proper use of the mass media and press
  • Free education
  • Free physical training
  • Strengthening advanced scientific research
  • The elimination of imperialism and foreign influence
  • The elimination of despotism, autocracy and monopoly
  • Ensure social and political freedoms within the law
  • The end to all forms of undesirable discrimination

These goals were designed to emphasize positive liberty.

Some of the goals are put in context of the requirements of Islam. For example:

  • The planning of a just economic system
  • Public cooperation of all people
  • The creation of the government's foreign policy

Article 4 (Islamic Principle)[edit]

Article 4 is immutable and the Council of Guardians ensures that all articles of the Constitution as well other laws are based on Islamic criteria.

Article 5 (Office of Religious Leader)[edit]

This article explains the leaders of Ummah must choose a leader in accordance with Article 107 for this office. This is stated to be related to the disappearance of the Twelfth Imam whom it asks God to return.

Chapter II [Article 15 to 18]: Official Language, Script, Calendar, & Flag of Country[edit]

Language[edit]

Article 15 states that the "Official language and writing script (of Iran)... is Persian...[and]... the use of regional and tribal languages in the press and mass media, as well as for teaching of their literature in schools, is allowed in addition to Persian. ." Per Article 16, "Since the language of the Qur'an and Islamic texts ... is Arabic it must be taught .... in school from elementary grades until the end of high school."

Chapter III [Article 19 to 42]: Rights of People[edit]

Article 23 of the Iranian constitution holds that “the investigation of individuals’ beliefs is forbidden, and no one may be molested or taken to task simply for holding a certain belief.”

Article 24 safeguards press freedoms

Article 27 provides for freedom of assembly, "provided arms are not carried" and the assemblies "are not detrimental to the fundamental principles of Islam".

Article 37 provides for the presumption of innocence, stating: "Innocence is to be presumed, and no one is to be held guilty of a charge unless his or her guilt has been established by a competent court."

Article 29 [Welfare benefits] is a universal right of all to enjoy social insurance or other forms of security for retirement, unemployment, old-age disability, lack of guardianship, being a wayfarer, accident and the need for health and treatment services and medical care. The government, in accordance with the laws and by drawing on national revenues, is required to provide such insurance and economic protection to each and every citizen of the country.

Chapter IV [Article 43 to 55]: Environmental, Economical & Financial Affairs[edit]

Article 44: The Islamic Republic is not a Communist state as the Islamic scholars fiercely oppose this. Notwithstanding this, pursuant to Article 44, "all large-scale and mother industries, foreign trade, major minerals, banking, insurance, power generation, dams, and large-scale irrigation networks, radio and television, post, telegraph and telephone services, aviation, shipping, roads, railroads and the like" are entirely owned by the government. According to the Article 44 of the Iranian Constitution, the economy of Iran is to consist of three sectors: state, cooperative, and private; and is to be based on systematic and sound planning. This article has been amended in 2004 to allow for the Privatization of the Iranian economy.[12][13][14]

Article 49: The government has the responsibility of confiscating all wealth accumulated through usury, usurpation, bribery, embezzlement, theft, gambling, misuse of endowments, misuse of government contracts and transactions, the sale of uncultivated lands and other resources subject to public ownership, the operation of centers of corruption, and other illicit means and sources, and restoring it to its legitimate owner; and if no such owner can be identified, it must be entrusted to the public treasury. This rule must be executed by the government with due care, after investigation and furnishing necessary evidence in accordance with the law of Islam.

Article 50: This article links current and future generations to the environment and makes it a public duty to protect the environment. This article explicitly forbids economic activity that degrades or causes irreversible harm to the environment.

Chapter V [Article 56 to 61]: Right of National Sovereignty[edit]

Pursuant to Article 60, the president fulfills "executive" functions "except in the matters that are directly placed under the jurisdiction of the [Leader]" as enumerated in Article 110. Article 68 allows suspension of elections during wartime. Article 57 states the Separation of Powers

Chapter VI [Article 62 to 99]: Legislative Powers[edit]

Article 81 [Foreign Business][edit]

This article forbids multinational corporation from taking over certain businesses in Iran saying, "concessions to foreigners or the formation of companies" in Iran is forbidden.

Chapter VII [Article 100 to 106]: Councils[edit]

Article 100 In order to expedite social, economic, development, public health, cultural, and educational programmes and facilitate other affairs relating to public welfare with the cooperation of the people according to local needs, the administration of each village, division, city, municipality, and province will be supervised by a council to be named the Village, Division, City, Municipality, or Provincial Council. Members of each of these councils will be elected by the people of the locality in question. Qualifications for the eligibility of electors and candidates for these councils, as well as their functions and powers, the mode of election, the jurisdiction of these councils, the hierarchy of their authority, will be determined by law, in such a way as to preserve national unity, territorial integrity, the system of the Islamic Republic, and the sovereignty of the central government.

Article 101 In order to prevent discrimination in the preparation of programmes for the development and welfare of the provinces, to secure the cooperation of the people, and to arrange for the supervision of coordinated implementation of such programmes, a Supreme Council of, the Provinces will be formed, composed of representatives of the Provincial Councils. Law will specify the manner in which this council is to be formed and the functions that it is to fulfil.

Article 102 The Supreme Council of the Provinces has the right within its jurisdiction, to draft bills and to submit them to the Islamic Consultative Assembly, either directly or through the government. These bills must be examined by the Assembly.

Article 103 Provincial governors, city governors, divisional governors, and other officials appointed by the government must abide by all decisions taken by the councils within their jurisdiction.

Article 104 In order to ensure Islamic equity and cooperation in chalking out the programmes and to bring about the harmonious progress of all units of production, both industrial and agricultural, councils consisting of the representatives of the workers, peasants, other employees, and managers, will be formed in educational and administrative units, units of service industries, and other units of a like nature, similar councils will be formed, composed of representatives of the members of those units. The mode of the formation of these councils and the scope of their 'functions and powers,~are t,o be specified by law.

Article 105 Decisions taken by the councils must not be contrary to the criteria of Islam and the laws of the country.

Article 106 The councils may not be dissolved unless they deviate from their legal duties. The body responsible for determining such deviation, as well as the manner for dissolving the councils and re-forming them, will be specified by law. Should a council have any objection to its dissolution, it has the right to appeal to a competent court, and the court is duty-bound to examine its complaint outside the docket sequence.

Chapter VIII [Article 107 to 112]: Leader[edit]

Article 110 [Leadership Duties and Powers][edit]

The constitution accords many powers to the Supreme Leader.

Some say that the Supreme Leader's powers extend beyond those enumerated in the Constitution because he can use "Islamic issues for justification."[15]

Article 112: If a proposed bill of Majles is "against the principles of Shariah or the Constitution," then the Guardian Council should meet with the Expediency Council to resolve the legislative deadlock.

Chapter IX [Article 113 to 151]: Presidency, Ministers, Army ,& Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps[edit]

Article 146 [No Foreign Military Base][edit]

"...[F]oreign military base in Iran, even for peaceful purposes, is forbidden."

Chapter X [Article 152 to 155]: Foreign Policy[edit]

The Constitution of Islamic Republic of Iran

Chapter X Foreign Policy [16]

Article 152 The foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran is based upon the rejection of all forms of domination, both the exertion of it and submission to it, the preservation of the independence of the country in all respects and its territorial integrity, the defence of the rights of all Muslims, non-alignment with respect to the hegemonic superpowers, and the maintenance of mutually peaceful relations with all non-belligerent States.

Article 153 Any form of agreement resulting in foreign control over the natural resources, economy, army, or culture of the country, as well as other aspects of the national life, is forbidden.

Article 154 The Islamic Republic of Iran has as its ideal human felicity throughout human society, and considers the attainment of independence, freedom, and rule of justice and truth to be the right of all people of the world. Accordingly, while scrupulously refraining from all forms of interference in the internal affairs of other nations, it supports the just struggles of the mustad'afun (oppressed) against the mustakbirun (oppressors) in every corner of the globe.

Article 155 The government of the Islamic Republic of Iran may grant political asylum to those who seek it unless they are regarded as traitors and saboteurs according to the laws of Iran.

Chapter XI [Article 156 to 174]: Judiciary[edit]

Islamic laws & fatwas[edit]

Article 167 [Rule of Law for Judiciary] stipulates that judges must make use of "Islamic sources and...fatwas" in matters where the Iranian law books are silent.

Chapter XII [Article 175]: Radio & Television[edit]

This article guarantees the freedom of expression and dissemination of thoughts in the "Radio and Television of the Islamic Republic of Iran" when keeping with the Islamic criteria and best interests of the country. It gives the Leader the power to appoint and dismiss the head of the "Radio and Television of the Islamic Republic of Iran" and establishes a council with two representatives (six in total) from each branch of the government to supervise this organization.[17]

Chapter XIII [Article 176]: Supreme Council for National Security[edit]

Chapter 8, which has only one article, establishes Iran's National Security Council.

Chapter XIV [Article 177]: Revision of Constitution[edit]

This article regulates the process for revising the Constitution and puts a moratorium on revisions to particular aspects of the Constitution. Absent its own repeal, Article 177 requires an edict by the Leader to initiate the process of making future revisions to the Constitution.

Itself a revision to the Constitution, Article 177 necessitates a “Council for Revision of the Constitution” to make future amendments to the Constitution. This panel’s membership is exclusively governmental officials beyond the advice of 3 university professors. The final amendments are put to referendum in a process initiated by the executive[18] unlike Article 59 referendum which must be approved by a supermajority of the Islamic Consultative Assembly.[19] The article further stipulates that particular aspects of the Constitution are unalterable: the Islamic character of government and laws, the objectives of the republic, the democratic character of the government, “the absolute wilayat al-'amr and the leadership of the Ummah”, the administration of the country by referendum, and the official religion of Islam.[18]

See also[edit]

References and notes[edit]

External links[edit]