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The rule of law and politics of reform in post-revolutionary Iran

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Chapter Summary

The rule of law is a central topic of the political and constitutional discourse in Iran. This chapter focuses on the jurisprudence of the ruling system in Iran during Mohammad Khatami’s presidency (1997–2005). Khatami’s Reform Movement is faithful to the regime’s Islamic character. The Islamic Constitution, substantially shaped by Khomeini’s lieutenants, defined the supreme clerical jurist entitled to velayat-e-faqih as the Leader (Rahbar), and endowed that office with the person of Imam Khomeini. The extended application of the general principles of Shi’ite jurisprudence has also been seriously hampered by the shortage of judges with adequate training in Islamic law. The chapter shows one instance of the interaction of three institutions (the Guardian Council, Judiciary, and presidency) claiming constitutional rights to shape the rule of law in Iran. There are still three more such claimants: the Majles, the Interest Council and the Leader.

Keywords: guardian council; Imam Khomeini; interest council; Iran’s rule of law; Islamic constitution; Khatami’s reform movement; Majles; Shi’ite jurisprudence; velayat-e faqih



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