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In the summer of 1979 a popularly elected assembly drafted the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran; this constitution was approved in a popular referendum in December. It named Khomeini to serve as Iran’s supreme spiritual leader, an office called velayat-e faqih (guardianship of the religious jurist; the holder of the office is the faqih), and provided for an elected assembly of senior clergy to select Khomeini’s successors. The constitution also stipulated as head of state an elected president who would choose a prime minister to be head of government, subject to legislative approval. It preserved the prerevolutionary elected parliament, the Majlis, as the legislature. In 1989 voters approved 45 amendments to the constitution, the most important of which downgraded the religious qualifications for the faqih, eliminated the office of prime minister, and made the president both head of state and head of government. The Majlis set 15 as the minimum age for voting.


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