President of Iran
The President of Iran is the head of government of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The President is the highest-ranking official of Iran. The President carries out the decrees, and answers to the Supreme Leader of Iran, who functions as the country's head of state. Unlike the executive in other countries, the President of Iran does not have full control over the government, which is ultimately under the control of the Supreme Leader. The President of Iran is elected for a four-year term by direct vote and not permitted to run for a third term or serve for more than 8 years in the office.
Chapter IX of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran sets forth the qualifications for presidential candidates. The procedures for presidential election and all other elections in Iran are outlined by the Supreme Leader. The President functions as the executive of the decrees and wishes of the Supreme Leader, including: signing treaties with foreign countries and international organizations; and administering national planning, budget, and state employment affairs. The President also appoints the ministers, subject to the approval of Parliament, and the Supreme Leader who can dismiss or reinstate any of the ministers at any time, regardless of the president or parliament's decision. The Supreme Leader directly chooses the ministries of Defense, Intelligence and Foreign Affairs, as well as certain other ministries, such as the Science Ministry. Iran's regional policy is directly controlled by the office of the Supreme Leader with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ task limited to protocol and ceremonial occasions. All of Iran's ambassadors to Arab countries, for example, are chosen by the Quds Corps, which directly reports to the Supreme Leader.
The current long-time Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, ruling Iran for nearly three decades, has issued decrees and made final decisions on economy, environment, foreign policy, national planning, and almost everything else in the country. Khamenei has also made final decisions on the degree of transparency in elections in Iran, and has fired and reinstated Presidential cabinet appointments.
The current President of Iran is Hassan Rouhani, assumed office on 3 August 2013, after the 2013 Iranian presidential election. He succeeded Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who served 8 years in office from 2005 to 2013. Rouhani won re-election in the 2017 presidential election.
, office of President
After the Iranian Revolution of 1979 and referendum to create the Islamic Republic on March 29 and 30, the new government needed to craft a new constitution. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, ordered an election for the Assembly of Experts, the body tasked with writing the constitution. The assembly presented the constitution on October 24, 1979, and Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini and Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan approved it.
The 1979 Constitution designated the Supreme Leader of Iran as the head of state and the President and Prime Minister as the heads of government. The post of Prime Minister was abolished in 1989.
The first Iranian presidential election was held on January 25, 1980 and resulted in the election of Abulhassan Banisadr with 76% of the votes. Banisadr was impeached on June 22, 1981 by Parliament. Until the early election on July 24, 1981, the duties of the President were undertaken by the Provisional Presidential Council. Mohammad-Ali Rajai was elected President on July 24, 1981 and took office on August 2. Rajai was in office for less than one month because he and his prime minister were both assassinated. Once again a Provisional Presidential Council filled the office until October 13, 1981 when Ali Khamenei was elected president.
The election on August 3, 2005 resulted in a victory for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The election on June 12, 2009 was reported by government authorities as a victory for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the incumbent candidate, although this is greatly disputed by supporters of rival candidates, who noted the statistical anomalies in voting reports and large-scale overvoting in the officially announced tallies.
Ali Khamenei, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Mohammad Khatami, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hassan Rouhani were each elected president for two terms.
The procedures for presidential election and all other elections in Iran are outlined by the Supreme Leader. The President of Iran is elected for a four-year term in a national election by universal adult suffrage for everyone of at least 18 years of age. Candidates for the presidency must be approved by the Council of Guardians, a twelve-member body consisting of six clerics and six lawyers. According to the Constitution of Iran candidates for the presidency must possess the following qualifications:
- Iranian origin;
- Iranian nationality;
- administrative capacity and resourcefulness;
- a good past record;
- trustworthiness and piety; and
- convinced belief in the fundamental principles of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the official madhhab of the country.
The President must be elected with a simple majority of the popular vote. If no candidate receives a majority in the first round, a runoff election is held between the top two candidates.