Combatant Clergy Association

Last updated
Combatant Clergy Association
General Secretary Mostafa Pourmohammadi
Spokesperson Gholamreza Mesbahi-Moghadam
Founded1977;42 years ago (1977)
Headquarters Tehran, Iran
Ideology Clericalism
Political position Right-wing [1]
International affiliationNone
5th Assembly of Experts
66 / 88(75%)
Official website

The Combatant Clergy Association (Persian : جامعۀ روحانیت مبارز, romanized: jâmeʿe-ye rowhâniyat-e mobârez) is a politically active group in Iran, but not a political party in the traditional sense.

Persian language Western Iranian language

Persian, also known by its endonym Farsi, is a Western Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family. It is a pluricentric language primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and some other regions which historically were Persianate societies and considered part of Greater Iran. It is written right to left in the Persian alphabet, a modified variant of the Arabic script.

Romanization of Persian or Latinization of Persian is the representation of the Persian language with the Latin script. Several different romanization schemes exist, each with its own set of rules driven by its own set of ideological goals.

Iran Islamic Republic in Western Asia

Iran, also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. With over 81 million inhabitants, Iran is the world's 18th most populous country. Its territory spans 1,648,195 km2 (636,372 sq mi), making it the second largest country in the Middle East and the 17th largest in the world. Iran is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and to the west by Turkey and Iraq. Its central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, and its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, give it geostrategic importance. Tehran is the capital, largest city, and leading economic and cultural center.


It has never been registered as a political party, however it acts as a fragmented caucus and has actively operated in the electoral arena, competing for votes. Thus, it is considered an elite party and can be classified as a political party according to the minimalist definition by Angelo Panebianco. The traditional conservative clerical association was the majority party in the fourth and fifth parliaments after the Islamic revolution. [2]

A caucus is a meeting of supporters or members of a specific political party or movement. The term originated in the United States, but has spread to Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and Nepal. As the use of the term has expanded, the exact definition has come to vary between political cultures.

An elite party is a political party consisting of members of the societal elite, particularly members of parliament, who agree to co-operate politically in the spirit of principles and goals. The first to describe this party model was Edmund Burke in 1770. More recently, the elite party model has been outlined by Maurice Duverger.

Iranian Revolution Revolution in Iran to overthrow the Shah replace him with Ayatollah Khomeini.

The Iranian Revolution, also known as the Islamic Revolution or the 1979 Revolution, was a series of events that involved the overthrow of the last monarch of Iran, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, and the replacement of his government with an Islamic republic under the Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a leader of one of the factions in the revolt. The movement against the United States-backed monarchy was supported by various leftist and Islamist organizations and student movements.

The organization has great influence over non-elective institutions such as the Judicial system, the Guardian Council and Revolutionary Guard Corps. [1]

Guardian Council appointed and constitutionally-mandated 12-member council that wields considerable power and influence in Iran

The Guardian Council of the Constitution is an appointed and constitutionally mandated 12-member council that wields considerable power and influence in the Islamic Republic of Iran.


After the 15 Khordad demonstration failed in Iran, it was felt that a coherence organization was needed. [3] The association was founded in 1977 by a group of clerics with intentions to use Islamic culture and traditions to overthrow the Shah. Although the exact founding members of the group are unsure, some of them were said to be Ali Khamenei, Morteza Motahhari, Mohammad Beheshti, Mohammad Javad Bahonar, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Fazlollah Mahallati, and Mohammad Mofatteh, [4] and its current members include founding member Ali Khamenei. [5]

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi the last shah of Iran

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, also known as Mohammad Reza Shah, was the last Shah of Iran from 16 September 1941 until his overthrow by the Iranian Revolution on 11 February 1979. Mohammad Reza Shah took the title Shahanshah on 26 October 1967. He was the second and last monarch of the House of Pahlavi. Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi held several other titles, including that of Aryamehr and Bozorg Arteshtaran ("Commander-in-Chief"). His dream of what he referred to as a "Great Civilisation" in Iran led to a rapid industrial and military modernisation, as well as economic and social reforms.

Ali Khamenei Iranian Shiite faqih, Marja and official independent islamic leader

Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei is a marja' and the second and current Supreme Leader of Iran, in office since 1989. He was previously President of Iran from 1981 to 1989. Khamenei is the second-longest serving head of state in the Middle East, as well as the second-longest serving Iranian leader of the last century, after Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi.

Morteza Motahhari Iranian politician

Morteza Motahhari was an Iranian cleric, philosopher, lecturer, and politician. Motahhari is considered to have an important influence on the ideologies of the Islamic Republic, among others. He was a co-founder of Hosseiniye Ershad and the Combatant Clergy Association. He was a disciple of Ruhollah Khomeini during the Shah's reign and formed the Council of the Islamic Revolution at Khomeini's request. He was chairman of the council at the time of his assassination.

The Combatant Clergy Association was one of the only active republican groups before the Iran–Iraq War. A "free political atmosphere" was not provided in Iran due to the special conditions of wartime, and the Combatant Clergy Association was the only active political organisation after the dissolution of the Islamic Republican Party (All IRP clerics were members of CCA but not all CCA founders were members of IRP). [2] By the emergence of factional differences in government of Mir Hossein Mousavi, the organization was divided, and Association of Combatant Clerics was formed. [6]

Iran–Iraq War 1980–1988 war between Iran and Iraq

The Iran–Iraq War was an armed conflict between Iran and Iraq, beginning on 22 September 1980, when Iraq invaded Iran, and ending on 20 August 1988, when Iran accepted the UN-brokered ceasefire. Iraq wanted to replace Iran as the dominant Persian Gulf state, and was worried that the 1979 Iranian Revolution would lead Iraq's Shi'ite majority to rebel against the Ba'athist government. The war also followed a long history of border disputes, and Iraq planned to annex the oil-rich Khuzestan Province and the east bank of the Arvand Rud.

Islamic Republican Party political party

The Islamic Republican Party formed in mid-1979 to assist the Iranian Revolution and Ayatollah Khomeini establish theocracy in Iran. It was disbanded in May 1987 due to internal conflicts.

Association of Combatant Clerics

The Association of Combatant Clerics is an Iranian reformist clerical political party.

Recent years

CCA is suffering from unresolved contention between its elites. Hassan Rouhani, president of Iran since 2013, is a member of the faction although he has been inactive and not participated their regular sessions since the disputed 2009 presidential elections, a situation that applies to Ali Akbar Nategh-Nouri and Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani as well. [2] [7] The association however backed Rafsanjani and Rouhani in 2016 Assembly of Experts election and included both on its list, [8] despite backing Rouhani's rival, Ebrahim Raisi, for president in 2017. [9]

Hassan Rouhani 7th President of the Islamic Republic of Iran

Hassan Rouhani is an Iranian politician serving as the current and seventh President of Iran since 3 August 2013. He was also a lawyer, academic, former diplomat and Islamic cleric. He has been a member of Iran's Assembly of Experts since 1999, member of the Expediency Council since 1991, and a member of the Supreme National Security Council since 1989. Rouhani was deputy speaker of the fourth and fifth terms of the Parliament of Iran (Majlis) and Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council from 1989 to 2005. In the latter capacity, he was the country's top negotiator with the EU three, UK, France, and Germany, on nuclear technology in Iran, and has also served as a Shi'ite ijtihadi cleric, and economic trade negotiator. He has expressed official support for upholding the rights of ethnic and religious minorities. In 2013, he appointed former industries minister Eshaq Jahangiri as his first vice-president.

Ali Akbar Nategh-Nouri Iranian politician

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Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani Iranian politician, Shia cleric and Writer

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Goals and activities

The association brought together anti-Shah clerics and bazaaris. [10] It also aimed to preserve the revolution and its achievements. Supporting the Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist and state organization are some of the group's goals. The association does not recognize itself as a political party and hence does not have any written strategy or policy. The association mostly announces its political viewpoints around election time. [4]

Members of the association have had important positions in the different governments of Iran. By 2004, four out of eight presidents of the executive branch of the government had been selected from this association. Also, the president of the judicial branch of the government was one the members of the association, Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, for two five-year periods, from 1989 to 1999. [4]

Foreign policy

The association believes in making diplomatic relationships with all the world countries except United States and Israel, and their criteria in this regard is avoiding both being dominated by other countries and domination over others. However, they believe that there can be relationships with France and England under defined conditions. The association believes that there is an intrinsic differences between the value system of Iran and western societies. [11]

Financial sources

The fourth chapter of the Combatant Clergy Association's statute deals with the financial issues of the association. The association has no financial source such as factories or businesses. [11]

Election results

Assembly of Experts

ElectionSeats won+/−Ref
69 / 86(80%)
Steady2.svg [12]
69 / 86(80%)
Steady2.svg [13]
66 / 88(75%)
Decrease2.svg 3 [14]

List of General Secretaries

1 Fazlollah Mahallati 1977–31 October 1981 [15]
2 Mohammad Reza Mahdavi Kani 1 November 1981 – 21 October 2014 [15]
Mohammed Emami-Kashani (interim)1996 [15]
3 Ali Movahedi-Kermani 2 December 2014 – 30 May 2018 [15]
4 Mostafa Pourmohammadi 30 May 2018–present [15]

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  14. "طیف بندی‌های خبرگان پنجم را بشناسید/ 3 منتخب اختصاصی جامعه مدرسین و 16 منتخب اختصاصی خبرگان مردم". Khabaronline (in Persian). 1 March 2016. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
  15. 1 2 3 4 5 "موحدی کرمانی دبیرکل شد" [Movahedi-Kermani became the General Secretary] (in Persian). Iranian Students' News Agency. 3 December 2014. 93091207754. Retrieved 25 June 2016.