Interim Government of Iran

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ایران (Persian)
(de facto)[1]
Anthem: Ey Iran (de facto)[2]
ای ایران
"Oh Iran"
National seal:
Seal of Iran
and largest city
Official languagesPersian (de facto)
Shia Islam
GovernmentProvisional government
Revolutionary leader 
• 1979
Ruhollah Khomeini
Prime Minister 
• 1979
Mehdi Bazargan
LegislatureRevolutionary Council
11 February 1979
30–31 March 1979
4 November 1979
• Resignation of Interim Government
6 November 1979
• Total
1,648,195 km2 (636,372 sq mi)
ISO 3166 codeIR
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Imperial State of Iran
Islamic Republic of Iran

The Interim Government of Iran (Persian: دولت موقت ايران, romanizedDowlat-e Movaqat-e Irân) was the first government established in Iran after the Iranian Revolution. The regime was headed by Mehdi Bazargan, one of the members of the Freedom Movement of Iran,[3] and formed on the order of Ayatollah Khomeini on 4 February 1979. From 4 to 11 February, Bazargan and Shapour Bakhtiar, the Shah's last Prime Minister, both claimed to be the legitimate prime minister; Bakhtiar fled on 11 February.[4] Mehdi Bazargan was the prime minister of the interim government and introduced a seven-member cabinet on 14 February 1979. Ebrahim Yazdi was elected as the Foreign Minister.[5]

The constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran was adopted by referendum on 24 October 1979. Before it could come into force on 3 December 1979, however, the government resigned on 6 November soon after the taking over of the American embassy.[6] The Council of the Islamic Revolution then served as the country's government until the formation of the first Islamic Consultative Assembly on 12 August 1980. Bazargan was elected to the first Islamic Consultative Assembly representing Tehran.[7]

Formation of the interim government[edit]

When Ayatollah Khomeini, the leader of the Iranian revolution, came back to Iran after his 15-year exile, he appointed Mehdi Bazargan as the head of the interim government.[8] On 4 February 1979, Ruhollah Khomeini issued a decree appointing Bazargan as the prime minister of "The Provisional Islamic Revolutionary Government" (PRG).

His decree stated:

Based on the proposal of the Revolutionary Council and in accordance with the canonical and legal rights which originated from the vote of overwhelming majority of Iranian nation for leadership of the movement which has been represented in the vast gatherings and wide and numerous demonstrations across Iran and because of my utmost trust on your firm belief in the holy tenets of Islam and my knowledge of your precedent in Islamic and national struggles, I appoint you the authority to establish the interim government without consideration of any affiliation to any parties or dependence on any factional groups, for formation of temporary government to arrange organizing of country affairs and especially perform a referendum and refer to public vote of nation about turning the country into Islamic republic and formation of "The Council of the Founders" from the representatives of people to approve of constitution of new regime and to hold elections of representatives of parliament of nation on the basis of the new constitution. It is necessary that you appoint and introduce the members of the temporary government as soon as possible in concordance with the conditions I have clarified. All public offices, the army, and citizens shall furnish their utmost cooperation with your interim government so as to attain the high and holy goals of this Islamic revolution and to restore order and function to the affairs of the nation. I pray to God for the success of you and your interim government in this sensitive juncture of our nation's history.

— Ruhollah Al-Musavi al-Khomeini.[9]

Elaborating further on his decree, Khomeini made it clear that Iranians were commanded to obey Bazargan and that this was a religious duty.

As a man who, though the guardianship [Velayat] that I have from the holy lawgiver [the Prophet], I hereby pronounce Bazargan as the Ruler, and since I have appointed him, he must be obeyed. The nation must obey him. This is not an ordinary government. It is a government based on the sharia. Opposing this government means opposing the sharia of Islam ... Revolt against God's government is a revolt against God. Revolt against God is blasphemy.[10]

Khomeini's announcement came days before the army's official statement announcing the army's (Bakhtiar's last hope) neutrality in conflicts between Khomeini's and Bakhtiar's supporters. Bakhtiar fled on the same day, 11 February, the day that is officially named as Islamic Revolution's Victory Day.

The PRG is often described as "subordinate" to the Revolutionary Council, and having had difficulties reigning in the numerous committees which were competing with its authority.[11]

Members of the cabinet[edit]

Cabinet of Mehdi Bazargan

Cabinet of Iran
Date formed11 February 1979 (1979-02-11)
Date dissolved6 November 1979 (1979-11-06)
People and organisations
Head of governmentMehdi Bazargan
No. of ministers18
Ministers removed7
Total no. of members27
Member party
Legislature term(s)None
PredecessorCabinet of Bakhtiar
SuccessorInterim Cabinet of Revolutionary Council

According to Mohammad Ataie, the cabinet was made up of two main factions, moderates and radicals.[12] Most of cabinet members were nationalist veterans and sympathizers of the Freedom Movement of Iran and a few from the National Front.[13]

Bazargan reshuffled his cabinet several times because of resignation of ministers that were unable to cope with parallel sources of power. In several cases a ministry was supervised by an acting minister or Bazargan himself.

List of members of Bazargan's cabinet was as follows:

Portfolio Minister Took office Left office Party Ref
Prime Minister4 February 19796 November 1979 FMI[14]
Deputy Prime Minister
for Public Relations
and Administration
13 February 1979August 1979 FMI
August 19796 November 1979 FMI[14]
Deputy Prime Minister
for Revolutionary Affairs
13 February 197912 April 1979 FMI[14]
12 April 197929 September 1979 FMI
Deputy Prime Minister
for Transitional Affairs
13 February 197920 June 1979 FMI[14]
Minister of Interior13 February 197920 June 1979 FMI[14][15]
20 June 19796 November 1979 FMI[14][15]
Minister of Foreign Affairs13 February 19791 April 1979 NF[14]
1 April 197912 April 1979 FMI[14]
12 April 197912 November 1979 FMI[14]
Minister of Health13 February 197929 October 1979 JAMA[14][15]
Minister of Agriculture18 February 19796 November 1979 NF[14]
Minister of Information22 February 19796 November 1979 Independent[14]
Minister of Energy18 February 19796 November 1979 IAE[14]
Minister of Post22 February 19796 November 1979 FMI[14]
Minister of Finance18 February 19796 November 1979 NF[14]
Ministry of Housing13 February 19796 November 1979 IAE[14]
Minister of Labour13 February 197929 September 1979 NF[14][15]
29 September 19796 November 1979 FMI[14][15]
Ministry of Roads13 February 19796 November 1979 IAE[14]
Ministry of Industries18 February 19796 November 1979 FMI[14]
Ministry of Commerce18 February 19796 November 1979 FMI[14]
Minister of Culture22 February 197929 September 1979 JAMA[14]
29 September 19796 November 1979 FMI[14]
Minister of Education22 February 197929 September 1979 Independent[14]
29 September 19796 November 1979 FMI[14]
Minister of Justice18 February 197920 June 1979 NF[14]
20 June 19796 November 1979 FMI[14]
Minister of National Defense22 February 19792 March 1979 NF[14][15]
2 March 197918 September 1979 NF[15][16]
29 September 19796 November 1979 FMI[15]
Minister of Petroleum29 September 19796 November 1979 IAE[14]
Minister without Portfolio
for Revolutionary Projects
18 February 19796 November 1979 FMI[14]
Minister without Portfolio
for Plan and Budget
13 February 197929 September 1979 IAE[14]
29 September 19796 November 1979 FMI[14]
Minister without Portfolio
for Provincial Inspection
29 September 19796 November 1979 NF[14]
Minister without Portfolio
for Executive Affairs
29 September 19796 November 1979 FMI
Deputy Prime Minister for
Physical Education
February 19796 November 1979 NF
Deputy Prime Minister for
February 197923 August 1979 FMI


The Prime Minister and all members of his cabinet resigned en masse on 6 November 1979 after American Embassy officials were taken hostage two days earlier on 4 November 1979. In his letter to Khomeini, Bazargan stated that "...repeated interferences, inconveniences, objections and disputes have made my colleagues and me unable to continue [meeting] our duties ...".

Power then passed into the hands of the Revolutionary Council. Bazargan had been a supporter of the original revolutionary draft constitution rather than theocracy by Islamic jurist, and his resignation was received by Khomeini without protest, saying "Mr. Bazargan ... was a little tired and preferred to stay on the sidelines for a while." Khomeini later described his appointment of Bazargan as a "mistake".[17] Bazargan, on the other hand, described the government as a "knife without blade."[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Flag Bulletin, vol. XX, The Flag Research Center, May–June 1981, ISSN 0015-3370, The development of new symbols in Iran was a slow process. Monuments and other visible expressions of imperial power, especially those associated personally with the deposed shah, were quickly eliminated; the imperial crown immediately disappeared from the war flag and ensign. Nevertheless other flags continued in use – the civil flag and ensign (plain green-white-red stripes) and the state flag and ensign (the same stripes with the lion and sun in the center). The lion and sun also continued as the state arms
  2. ^ Sanam Zahir (2008), The Music of the Children of Revolution: The State of Music and Emergence of the Underground Music in the Islamic Republic of Iran with an Analysis of Its Lyrical Content, ISBN 9780549893073, A contrast to these two anthems is the song that was used during the revolution of 1979 as the de facto national anthem of the transition period. This song, Ey Iran is argued here...
  3. ^ Reza Safa (2006). The Coming Fall of Islam in Iran: Thousands of Muslims Find Christ in the Midst of Persecution. Charisma Media. p. 78. ISBN 9781591859888.
  4. ^ Mir M.Hosseini. "February, 5, 1979 A.D.: Bazargan Becomes Prime Minister". The Iranian history article. Archived from the original on 25 December 2018. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  5. ^ Samih K. Farsoun, Mehrdad Mashayekhi (22 November 2005). Iran: Political Culture in the Islamic Republic. Routledge. p. 173. ISBN 9781134969470.
  6. ^ Nikou, Semira N. "Timeline of Iran's Political Events". United States Institution of Peace. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  7. ^ Mehdi Noorbaksh. "Mehdi Bazargan's Biography". Cultural Foundation of Mehdi Bazargan. Retrieved 16 July 2016.
  8. ^ Bayram Sinkaya (19 June 2015). The Revolutionary Guards in Iranian Politics: Elites and Shifting Relations. Routledge. p. 79. ISBN 9781317525646.
  9. ^ چرا و چگونه بازرگان به نخست وزیری رسید؟ Archived 13 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine The commandment of Ayatollah Khomeini for Bazargan and his sermon on 5 February
  10. ^ Khomeini, Sahifeh-ye Nur, vol. 5, p. 31, translated by Baqer Moin in Khomeini (2000), p. 204
  11. ^ Arjomand, Turban for the Crown, (1988) p.135
  12. ^ Mohammad Ataie (Summer 2013). "Revolutionary Iran's 1979 endeavor in Lebanon". Middle East Policy. XX (2): 137–157. doi:10.1111/mepo.12026.
  13. ^ Amir Poursadigh (2003). The Determinants of the Revolutionary Disintegration of the State in Iran (PhD thesis). University of Tampere. p. 19.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag Mohammad Heydari (2008), "اخراجی‌های دولت", Shahrvand Magazine (in Persian), no. 43
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h "کابینه بازرگان ترمیم شد", Iranian History (in Persian), archived from the original on 17 July 2017, retrieved 25 November 2016
  16. ^ "تیمسار ریاحی از وزارت دفاع ملی استعفا داد", Iranian History (in Persian), archived from the original on 26 February 2019, retrieved 25 November 2016
  17. ^ Moin, Khomeini,(2000), p. 222
  18. ^ Lynn Berat (1995). Between States: Interim Governments in Democratic Transitions. Cambridge University Press. p. 132. ISBN 978-0-521-48498-5.
State of Iran
Preceded by Interim Government of Iran
Succeeded by
Cabinet of Iran
Preceded by Cabinet of Bazargan
Succeeded by