Political Parties of Iran

Iran became an official Islamic republic in 1979, as a result of a national referendum, when Iranian people overwhelmingly approved its institution. The 1979 constitution defined the present Iranian political system, consisting of several governing bodies, an elected president, a parliament and an Assembly of Experts, which elects the Supreme Leader, the highest state authority, and the Guardian Council which vets the candidates. In 1983, the last two Opposition parties were banned from the Iranian political scene and two main coalitions remained active, the Conservatives (extremist and ultra-religious right-wing parties) and the Reformists (moderate religious right-wing parties), both deriving from the former Islamic Republic Party. In 2009, the Guardian Council enforced that only parties and candidates who do not oppose the religious system of governance are allowed to partake to elections. Therefore the reformist parties have been also banned and their members jailed or exiled and since 2010, only the conservative parties can carry out political activities in Iran. The most powerful coalition is the Alliance of Builders of Islamic Iran, which subscribes to Iranian neoconservativism and includes several right-wing political parties. One of the most prominent and powerful figures of this coalition is the present President of Iran, former Mayor of Tehran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Another significant party is Islamic Coalition Party, which also played a critical role in the success of the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

The main Reformist coalition is 2nd of Khordad Front, the Iranian reform movement, which supported reform and change. The alliance includes several Reformist parties such as the Islamic Iran Participation Front, Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution Organization and Association of Combatant Clerics. They lost the 2009 presidential elections which were followed by violent protests of those who doubted the results and finally, the Reformists have all been banned from the political scene. Presently, outside Iran there are several active opposition parties but four of them are more powerful and active: People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (left-wing, religious party), National Front of Iran (liberal nationalist), Organization of Iranian People’s Fedaian (socialist) and Constitutionalist Party of Iran (Liberal Democrat).

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