Theoretical Framework

  • Farshad Malek-Ahmadi


A formidable institution in post-revolutionary Iran and an integral component of the Islamic Republic, the Council of Guardians has come to play a major role in recent development of Iranian society and politics. Constitutionally, it has two main functions: (1) to assure the compliance of all legislation with the Islamic Law (shari’d) and with the constitution, and (2) to oversee the electoral process. The latter function consists of the formal supervision of all elections in a way that is comprehensive and absolute, including the highly consequential—and controversial—act of approving the qualification of all candidates. If we were to count the top most powerful institutions of the Iranian Islamic state, the Council of Guardians would by all accounts be one of them. Originally, it had the grand task of reconciliation of parliamentary legislation with Shi’ite law. However, “institutions, once created, in turn give rise to new constellations of interests.”1 Both the institutional characteristics of the council, its structure, its place within the political structure, its functions de jure and de facto, and the makeup and characteristics of its members have had a profound impact on the social and political direction of the Iranian society since the 1979 Revolution.


Charismatic Leader Weberian Model Iranian Society Legal Thinking Formal Supervision 
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© Farshad Malek-Ahmadi 2015

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  • Farshad Malek-Ahmadi

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