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Iran:
Government

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Country name
Definition
conventional long form: Islamic Republic of Iran
conventional short form: Iran
local long form: Jomhuri-ye Eslami-ye Iran
local short form: Iran
former: Persia
Government type
Definition
theocratic republic
Capital
Definition
name: Tehran
geographic coordinates: 35 40 N, 51 25 E
time difference: UTC+3.5 (8.5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions
Definition
30 provinces (ostanha, singular - ostan); Ardabil, Azarbayjan-e Gharbi, Azarbayjan-e Sharqi, Bushehr, Chahar Mahall va Bakhtiari, Esfahan, Fars, Gilan, Golestan, Hamadan, Hormozgan, Ilam, Kerman, Kermanshah, Khorasan-e Jonubi, Khorasan-e Razavi, Khorasan-e Shomali, Khuzestan, Kohgiluyeh va Buyer Ahmad, Kordestan, Lorestan, Markazi, Mazandaran, Qazvin, Qom, Semnan, Sistan va Baluchestan, Tehran, Yazd, Zanjan
Independence
Definition
1 April 1979 (Islamic Republic of Iran proclaimed)
National holiday
Definition
Republic Day, 1 April (1979)
Constitution
Definition
2-3 December 1979; revised 1989 to expand powers of the presidency and eliminate the prime ministership
Legal system
Definition
based on Sharia law system; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage
Definition
16 years of age; universal
Executive branch
Definition
chief of state: Supreme Leader Ali Hoseini-KHAMENEI (since 4 June 1989)
head of government: President Mahmud AHMADI-NEJAD (since 3 August 2005); First Vice President Parviz DAVUDI (since 11 September 2005)
cabinet: Council of Ministers selected by the president with legislative approval; the Supreme Leader has some control over appointments to the more sensitive ministries
note: also considered part of the Executive branch of government are three oversight bodies: 1) Assembly of Experts (Majles-Khebregan), a popularly elected body charged with determining the succession of the Supreme Leader, reviewing his performance, and deposing him if deemed necessary; 2) Expediency Council or the Council for the Discernment of Expediency (Majma-e-Tashkise-Maslahat-e-Nezam) exerts supervisory authority over the executive, judicial, and legislative branches and resolves legislative issues on which the Majles and the Council of Guardians disagree and since 1989 has been used to advise national religious leaders on matters of national policy; in 2005 the Council's powers were expanded to act as a supervisory body for the government; 3) Council of Guardians of the Constitution or Council of Guardians or Guardians Council (Shora-ye Negaban-e Qanun-e Assassi) determines whether proposed legislation is both constitutional and faithful to Islamic law, vets candidates for suitability, and supervises national elections
elections: Supreme Leader is appointed for life by the Assembly of Experts; president is elected by popular vote for a four-year term (eligible for a second term and third nonconsecutive term); last held 17 June 2005 with a two-candidate runoff on 24 June 2005 (next presidential election slated for 2009)
election results: Mahmud AHMADI-NEJAD elected president; percent of vote - Mahmud AHMADI-NEJAD 62%, Ali Akbar Hashemi-RAFSANJANI 36%
Legislative branch
Definition
unicameral Islamic Consultative Assembly or Majles-e-Shura-ye-Eslami or Majles (290 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 14 March 2008 with a runoff held 25 April 2008 (next to be held in 2012)
election results: percent of vote - NA; seats by party - conservatives/Islamists 170, reformers 46, independents 71, religious minorities 3
Judicial branch
Definition
The Supreme Court (Qeveh Qazaieh) and the four-member High Council of the Judiciary have a single head and overlapping responsibilities; together they supervise the enforcement of all laws and establish judicial and legal policies; lower courts include a special clerical court, a revolutionary court, and a special administrative court
Political parties and leaders
Definition
formal political parties are a relatively new phenomenon in Iran and most conservatives still prefer to work through political pressure groups rather than parties, and often political parties or coalitions are formed prior to elections and disbanded soon thereafter; a loose pro-reform coalition called the 2nd Khordad Front, which includes political parties as well as less formal groups and organizations, achieved considerable success at elections to the sixth Majles in early 2000; groups in the coalition include: Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF), Executives of Construction Party (Kargozaran), Solidarity Party, Islamic Labor Party, Mardom Salari, Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution Organization (MIRO), and Militant Clerics Society (Ruhaniyun); the coalition participated in the seventh Majles elections in early 2004; following his defeat in the 2005 presidential elections, former MCS Secretary General and sixth Majles Speaker Mehdi KARUBI formed the National Trust Party; a new conservative group, Islamic Iran Developers Coalition (Abadgaran), took a leading position in the new Majles after winning a majority of the seats in February 2004; following the 2004 Majles elections, traditional and hardline conservatives have attempted to close ranks under the United Front of Principlists; the IIPF has repeatedly complained that the overwhelming majority of its candidates have been unfairly disqualified from the 2008 elections
Political pressure groups and leaders
Definition
groups that generally support the Islamic Republic: Ansar-e Hizballah-Islamic Coalition Party (Motalefeh); Followers of the Line of the Imam and the Leader; Islamic Engineers Society; Tehran Militant Clergy Association (Ruhaniyat); active pro-reform student group: Office of Strengthening Unity (OSU); opposition groups: Baluchistan People's Party (BPP); Freedom Movement of Iran; Marz-e Por Gohar; National Front; and various ethnic and Monarchist organizations; armed political groups that have been repressed by the government: Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (KDPI); Jundallah; Komala; Mujahidin-e Khalq Organization (MEK or MKO); People's Fedayeen; People's Free Life Party of Kurdistan (PJAK)
International organization participation
Definition
CP, ECO, FAO, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, MIGA, NAM, OIC, OPCW, OPEC, PCA, SAARC (observer), SCO (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMEE, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
Diplomatic representation in the US
Definition
none; note - Iran has an Interests Section in the Pakistani Embassy; address: Iranian Interests Section, Pakistani Embassy, 2209 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007; telephone: [1] (202) 965-4990; FAX [1] (202) 965-1073
Diplomatic representation from the US
Definition
none; note - the American Interests Section is located in the Swiss Embassy compound at Africa Avenue, West Farzan Street, number 59, Tehran, Iran; telephone 021 8878 2964 or 021 8879 2364; FAX 021 8877 3265
Flag description
Definition
three equal horizontal bands of green (top), white, and red; the national emblem (a stylized representation of the word Allah in the shape of a tulip, a symbol of martyrdom) in red is centered in the white band; ALLAH AKBAR (God is Great) in white Arabic script is repeated 11 times along the bottom edge of the green band and 11 times along the top edge of the red band


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