Sunday, May 24, 2009

Iran's Presidents: 1980 - 2009

4 February 1980- 22 June 1981: Abolhassan Banisadr, the first president of Iran following the abolition of monarchy, received 79% of the votes; removed from office by the Supreme Leader, Imam Khomeini, on 22 June 1981; fled the country and went into exile in Paris on 10 July 1981.

15-30 August 1981: Mohammad Ali Rajai, assassinated by a bomb blast planted by MKO in his office after only 14 days serving as president.

2 October 1981- 3 August 1989: Ali Khamenei, became president in a landslide victory with 95% of the votes, re-elected for a second term; succeeded Imam Khomeini as Islamic Republic’s second supreme leader upon Khomeini’s death on 3 June 1989 (serving for more than 2 months as both the president and the supreme leader); Khamenei has been the country’s top leader for nearly 20 years.

3 August 1989- 2 August 1997: Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani; dubbed as the "reconstuction" president for his efforts to jump start the economy after eight years of war with Iraq, re-elected to a second term; currently chairman of the Assembly of Expert and the Expediency Council.

2 August 1997 – 3 August 2005: Mohammad Khatami; dubbed as the "reformist" president for his government's support of basic freedoms of Iranian citizens; won a surprising victory in 1997 as the head of a popular movement known as 2 Khordad Movement, re-elected with even larger margin; remains an active and popular ex-president.

3 August 2005- Present: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; the sixth president (because his three predecessors each served two terms in office, his administration is called the "Ninth Government"), running for reelection on 12 June as the main principlist (hardliner) candidate.

20 June 2009: First round of presidential elections; four candidates selected by the Guardian Council, from top left: Mehdi Karrubi, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (incumbent), Mohsen Rezaie and Mir Hossein Mousavi.

Terms in Office: The presidential terms are for four years. Each person can not be elected to more than two consecutive terms, but can run again after being out of office for at least one term (Rafsanjani ran and lost to Ahmdinejad in 2005, and Khatami started his campaign this year only to withdraw after Mousavi declared his candidacy).

Selection Process: A governmental body, the Guardian Council, selects candidates deemed to be acceptable to the Islamic Republic. This year, the Council chose four candidates (pictured above). Many highly-qualified candidates, including a former interior minister in Khatami administration, did not even run, being certain that their candidacies would be disapproved by the Guardian Council on political grounds. The selection process by the Guardian Council has continuously tainted the legitimacy of the electoral process in the Islamic Republic.

The Title:
The title of president is misleading for the office. Iran's presidents are equivalent to prime ministers. The "Leader," commonly referred to in English as the Supreme Leader, is not only the head of state but holds executive power over the most crucial branches of the government, including the military and the judiciary. Combined with the fact that the Leaders serve for lifetime, they are equivalent to the shahs of Iran.


cnol said...

Informative post, thank you. If the Supreme Leader has final say over all decisions, does he actively use it and is actively involved in the governing process, or is this more a reserve right over the final say? How much power/control do the other leaders actually have over governance and decision making?

Nader Uskowi said...

the Leader does actively use his powers in a wide range of policy matters, specially with regards to military and the country's nuclear program. Not just a veto power, he is the real authority in the country.

Other leaders do contribute to the decision-making process, but the Leader has the last word on important matters.

Anonymous said...

The title part regarding the supreme leader is not correct,

he is chosen by a council and can be brought down and changed should he not abide by the sharia.

this council is voted into this position every 8 years and consist of over 80 clergys. vote is done in secret and not open.

in the last 30 years it has not happend though.

He has more powers than any shah in history by the way.

masoud said...

Anonymous above is correct, the Leader is appointed by the 'Council of Experts' which is charged with monitoring the Leader's performance and recalling him and naming a new Leader when necessary. They are elected by universal suffrage every eight years, their candidacies being subject to vetting by the Council of Guardians. The Leader can theoretically be recalled by the Council at any time it chooses.

Important decisions are formally made by the Leader but in practice policy is formed through weak consensus in the relevant hi-level decision making body. Lesser matters are dealt with directly by the executive branch, and are subject to change by Leader or his office and to oversight by the Majles.


Unknown said...

YH Ahmadinejad is brave and he has to upgrade the nation economy by increasing investmnet, giving more jobs for the people..