From the Islamic Republic to Islamic Rule

The author contrasts Ayatollah Khomeini’s early expressions of support for the concept of republicanism with the undemocratic features of the theocratic government that has ruled Iran 1979 Islamic revolution. He identifies Khomeini’s decision to substitute an assembly of religious “experts” for a freely elected constituent assembly as the first major step towards the establishment of a theocratic dictatorship. The salient features of the new constitution were so designed as to provide all the necessary legal means for the unfettered and exclusive rule of the Shiite clergy headed by an all powerful Supreme Leader. The pervasive powers and prerogatives of the Supreme Leader, according to the author, have resulted in the creation of an absolutist political reign. 
Although the constitution provides for the creation of three independent branches of government, the author suggests that it is the supreme leader, with his absolute and boundless powers, who regulates the relationships between the three institutions. Although the supreme leader is not directly elected by the public, he is virtually the head of both the state and the government. He legally influenced the vetting and selection of candidates by the Council of Guardians whose members are directly or indirectly appointed by him. He can nullify the laws enacted by the Consultative Assembly and approved by the Council of Guardians, on the basis of his exclusive religious authority.
The author offers the title of oligarchic theocracy as a most suitable for the present political system in Iran. Under the suppressive rule of this oligarchy, the author suggests, the Iranian people have been deprived, in a most brutal fashion, of all their most basic rights and freedoms for which they unknowingly participated in a revolution three decades ago. 

عبدالکریم لاهیجی*
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