The Supreme Leader. The post of Supreme Leader (Persian: رهبر انقلاب, Rahbare Enqelab, lit. Leader of the Revolution, or مقام رهبری, Maghame Rahbari, lit. Leadership Authority) was created in the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran as the highest ranking political and religious authority of the nation, in accordance with the concept of Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists. The title “Supreme” Leader (Persian: رهبر معظم, Rahbare Moazzam) is often used as a sign of respect; however, this terminology is not found in the constitution of Iran, which simply referred to the “Leader” (rahbar).
More powerful than the president of Iran, the Leader appoints the heads of many powerful posts – the commanders of the armed forces, the director of the national radio and television network, the heads of the major religious foundations, the prayer leaders in city mosques, and the members of national security councils dealing with defence and foreign affairs. He also appoints the chief judge, the chief prosecutor, special tribunals and, with the help of the chief judge, the 12 jurists of the Guardian Council – the powerful body that decides both what bills may become law and who may run for president or parliament.
The Islamic Republic has had two Supreme Leaders in its history; currently the post is occupied by Ali Khamenei.
The Assembly Of Experts. According to the Iranian Constitution, the assembly is in charge of supervising, dismissing and electing the Supreme Leader. In the event of his death, resignation or dismissal, the Experts shall take steps within the shortest possible time to appoint a new Leader. “Whenever the Leader becomes incapable of fulfilling his constitutional duties, or loses one of the qualifications mentioned in the Constitution, or it becomes known that he did not possess some of the qualifications initially, he will be dismissed.” The assembly has never dismissed a sitting Supreme Leader, and as all of their meetings and notes are strictly confidential, the assembly has never been known to challenge or otherwise publicly oversee any of the Supreme Leader’s decisions.
The Expediency Discernment Council. The Expediency Discernment Council of the System (Persian: مجمع تشخیص مصلحت نظام), is an administrative assembly appointed by the Supreme Leader and was created upon the revision to the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Iran on 6 February 1988. It was originally set up to resolve differences or conflicts between the Majlis and the Council of Guardians, but “its true power lies more in its advisory role to the Supreme Leader.” According to Hooman Majd, the Leader “delegated some of his own authority to the council — granting it supervisory powers over all branches of the government” — following President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s election in 2005.
The Guardian Council. The Guardian Council of the Constitution (Persian: شورای نگهبان قانون اساسی, Shora-ye Negaban-e Qanun-e Assassi), also known as the Guardian Council or Council of Guardians, is an appointed and constitutionally-mandated 12-member council that wields considerable power and influence in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The Iranian constitution calls for the council to be composed of six Islamic jurists, “conscious of the present needs and the issues of the day” to be selected by the Supreme Leader of Iran, and six jurists, “specializing in different areas of law, to be elected by the Majlis (the Iranian Parliament) from among the Muslim jurists nominated by the Head of the Judicial Power,” (who, in turn, is also appointed by the supreme leader).
The Majlis. Majlis of Iran (Persian: مجلس شورای اسلامی, lit. Islamic Consultative Assembly), also called The Iranian Parliament, is the national legislative body of Iran. The Majlis currently has 290 representatives, changed from the previous 270 seats since the 18 February 2000 election.
The current speaker of parliament is Ali Larijani, with first deputy speaker Mohammad Reza Bahonar and second deputy speaker Mohammad Hassan Aboutorabi-Fard. The presiding board member is Mousa Qorbani.
The President. The President of Iran is the highest popularly elected official in the Islamic Republic of Iran, but is subordinate to the Supreme Leader. According to the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran the president is responsible for the “functions of the executive”, such as signing treaties, agreements etc. with other countries and international organizations; the national planning and budget and state employment affairs; appointing ministers, governors, and ambassadors subject to the approval of the parliament.
Unlike many other countries, in Iran the president does not have full control over foreign policy, the armed forces, or the nuclear policy of the Iranian state, which are under the control of the Supreme Leader.
The President is elected for a four-year term by the direct vote of the people and may not serve for more than two consecutive terms.