Iran Politics, History and Economy


According to the constitution approved by referendum on December 2 and December 3, 1979 (with extensive changes on July 28, 1989), Iran is an Islamic republic with a presidential system, whose political, social and economic goals are based on the ethics and law of Islam of the Shiite direction has to align. The constitution guarantees the individual population groups, including religious and ethnic minorities, equal rights.

The system of government is based on the principle of the »rule of the legal scholar« (Wilayat-e Fakih), according to which a leader of the Islamic revolution and deputy of the imam appointed for life by the religious advisory council (assessment council, also expert council; 86 theologians, directly elected for 8 years) Mahdi (12th Imam) represents the highest authority, since 1989 A. Khamenei . The President, directly elected for 4 years (re-election possible once), E. Raisi since 2021, as head of government nominally determines the guidelines for domestic, foreign and economic policy, appoints the vice-president, proposes the members of the cabinet and heads the National Security Council, but is not only hierarchically subordinate to the “ruling legal scholar,” he can also do so be dismissed.

The legislature lies with the unicameral parliament (Madjlis; 290 members, elected for 4 years; 5 seats are reserved for members of religious minorities). All laws and ordinances require the approval of the Guardian Council (6 Islamic legal scholars appointed by the leader of the Islamic revolution and 6 lay people elected by parliament), which has to examine their compatibility with the principles of Islam. If there is disagreement between Parliament and the Guardian Council, since 1989 the draft law has to be submitted to the “Council for the Establishment of National Interest” (Arbitration Council), which is the final authority to decide the fate of the law.


In Zagros people (already living in the Stone Age Near East). Iranian history first becomes tangible with the kingdom of Elam. The Persians created in the 6th century BC A great empire that Alexander the Great and his successors, the Seleucids , inherited. The Iranian Parthians from Khorasan (from 2nd century BC) and the Sassanids (224–631 AD), who brought the Persian Empire to a new bloom, were in strong competition with Rome and Byzantium.

In the middle of the 7th century Iran was conquered by Muslim Arabs and became part of the caliphates of Damascus (Umayyads) and later Baghdad (Abbasids). From the 9th century onwards, the East gained independence under its own dynasties. They brought the Persian language and culture into Central Asia. To the west to Anatolia this was done by the Turkish Seljuks , who made Isfahan the capital for the first time in the 11th century. After the Mongolian rule (from 1258), which brought great destruction and territorial fragmentation, the Safavids (1501–1722) renewed the Persian empire and consolidated its Shiite one Character. Under Abbas I. (1587–1629) Iran became a great power. After an Afghan and Turkmen interlude that united Ghajar the country again. Tehran became the capital.

In the 19th century, as a country starting with letter I according to, Iran got caught up in the conflict between Great Britain and Russia. European influence led to the first internal reforms and in 1906 to a constitution. But it was only Resa Shah (from 1925) from the Pahlavi dynasty who tried to modernize and secularize the country comprehensively based on the Turkish model. Under his son Mohammed Resa , head of state from 1941, Iran exchanged the economic dominance of the British in the oil sector for protection from the USA. The United States initiated a military coup in 1953 against the nationalist Prime Minister M. Mossadegh , who had nationalized the Anglo-Persian Oil Company and tried to curtail the Shah’s power. Mohammed Resawho had briefly emigrated, regained his influence. A ruthless land reform, however, met strong resistance from the Shiite clergy, and the forced industrialization exacerbated the social differences. Oppositionists were followed by the secret service. The 1979 Islamic Revolution under the charismatic Ayatollah R. Khomeini overthrew the Shah regime and created the Islamic Republic of Iran. With its thrust against the West, it promoted political Islamism.

In the Gulf War (1980-88) Iran asserted itself against Iraq. After Khomeini’s death (1989), »reformers« like President SM Khatami (1997–2005) were repeatedly put in their place. Under the ultra-conservative President M. Ahmadinejad (2005–13), the opposition rebelled in vain with mass protests (2009). In terms of foreign policy, the dispute over the Iranian nuclear program intensified. His reassurance through an agreement (2015) was only brief because the US under President D. Trumpgave priority to the containment of Iran in the Middle East to an international compromise.


Low crude oil prices, international economic and financial sanctions and changing economic policy guidelines have caused Iran’s economy to stagnate for a long period of time. The gross national income (GNI) per resident was US $ 5,400 in 2017 despite large oil reserves. Persistently high inflation rates (10−35%) have repeatedly led to the devaluation of the rial. The official unemployment rate is (2017) 12.5%, although there is a high proportion of underemployed and hidden unemployment. Most of the economy and industrial enterprises are state-owned or controlled by religious foundations affiliated with the government.

Foreign trade: Due to the rise in raw material prices, the volume of foreign trade has increased significantly in recent years. In 2017, imports of US $ 63.1 billion (mainly industrial goods) contrasted with exports of US $ 84.0 billion (66% of which was oil, oil products and natural gas). The most important customer countries are China , India , South Korea and Turkey ; The main supplier countries are China, the United Arab Emirates and South Korea. The US financial and economic sanctions resumed in 2018 restricted Iranian exports and capital movements again, as companies from third countries also had to fear punitive measures.

Iran Politics

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