Council of the Islamic Revolution

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Council of the Islamic Revolution
Flag of Iran (1964).svg
Date formed12 January 1979 (1979-01-12) [1]
Date dissolved20 July 1980 (1980-07-20) [1]
People and organisations
Head of state Ruhollah Khomeini

The Council of the Islamic Revolution (Persian : شورای انقلاب اسلامی, translit.  Šūrā-ye enqelāb-e eslāmī) was a group formed by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to manage the Iranian Revolution on 10 January 1979, shortly before he returned to Iran. [2] "Over the next few months there issued from the council hundreds of rulings and laws, dealing with everything from bank nationalization to nurses' salaries." [3] Its existence was kept a secret during the early, less secure time of the revolution, [4] and its members and the exact nature of what the council did remained undisclosed to the public until early 1980. Some of the council's members like Motahhari, Taleqani, Bahonar, Beheshti, Qarani died during Iran–Iraq War or were assassinated by the MKO during the consolidation of the Iranian Revolution. Most of those who remained were put aside by the regime. [5]

Persian language Western Iranian language

Persian, also known by its endonym Farsi, is one of the Western Iranian languages within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family. It is 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.

Ayatollah high-ranking title given to Usuli Twelver Shī‘ah clerics

Ayatollah or ayatullah is a high-ranking Usuli Twelver Shī‘ah cleric. Those who carry the title are experts in Islamic studies such as jurisprudence, Quran reading, and philosophy and usually teach in Islamic seminaries. The next lower clerical rank is Hujjat al-Islam.



Council members meeting, left to right: Bazargan, Mahdavi Kani, Sahabi, Khamenei, Banisadr, Habibi, Mousavi Ardebili Council of the Islamic Revolution - From left Mehdi Bazargan, Mohammad-Reza Mahdavi Kani, Yadollah Sahabi, Ali Khamenei, Abolhassan Banisadr (Head of council), Hassan Habibi, Abdul-Karim Mousavi Ardebili.jpg
Council members meeting, left to right: Bazargan, Mahdavi Kani, Sahabi, Khamenei, Banisadr, Habibi, Mousavi Ardebili

The Council was composed of seven religious figures associated with Khomeini, seven secular opposition figures, and two representatives of the security forces. According to Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Khomeini chose Beheshti, Motahhari, Rafsanjani, Bahonar, Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Musavi Ardabili as members. These invited others to serve: Bazargan, Taleqani, Khamenei, Banisadr, Mahdavi Kani, Sahabi, Katirayee, Javadi, Qarani and Masoodi, [6] Moinfar, Minachi (until 1979) and Ghotbzadeh. [7]

Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani Iranian politician, Shia cleric and Writer

Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was an influential Iranian politician, writer and one of the founding fathers of the Islamic Republic who was the fourth President of Iran from 3 August 1989 until 3 August 1997. He was the head of the Assembly of Experts from 2007 until 2011, when he decided not to nominate himself for the post. He was also the chairman of the Expediency Discernment Council.

Mir-Hossein Mousavi Iranian politician and architect

Mir-Hossein Mousavi Khameneh is an Iranian reformist politician, artist and architect who served as the seventy-ninth and last Prime Minister of Iran from 1981 to 1989. He was a reformist candidate for the 2009 presidential election and eventually the leader of the opposition in the post-election unrest. Mousavi served as the president of the Iranian Academy of Arts until 2009, when Conservative authorities removed him.

Mehdi Bazargan Iranian politician

Mehdi Bazargan was an Iranian scholar, academic, long-time pro-democracy activist and head of Iran's interim government, making him Iran's first prime minister after the Iranian Revolution of 1979. He resigned his position as prime minister in November 1979, in protest at the US Embassy takeover and as an acknowledgement of his government's failure in preventing it.

The council put Bazargan forward as the Prime Minister of the Interim Government of Iran, which Khomeini accepted. [8]

Prime Minister of Iran former a political post in Iran

The Prime Minister of Iran was a political post in Iran that had existed during several different periods of time starting with the Qajar era until its most recent revival from 1979 to 1989 following the Iranian Revolution.

Interim Government of Iran government of Iran from February to November 1979

The Interim Government of Iran, officially the Provisional Revolutionary and Islamic Government of Iran was the first government established in Iran after the Iranian Revolution, and the first nominal republic established in Iran after 2,500 years of Persian monarchy. The regime was headed by Mehdi Bazargan, one of the members of the Freedom Movement of Iran, and formed on the order of Ruhollah Khomeini on 4 February 1979. From 4 February to 11 February, Bazargan and Shapour Bakhtiar, the Shah's last Prime Minister, both claimed to be the legitimate prime minister; Bakhtiar fled on 11 February. Mehdi Bazargan was the prime minister of the interim government and introduced a seven-member cabinet on 14 February 1979. Ebrahim Yazdi was elected as the Foreign Minister.

It has been described as "a parallel government" that passed laws and competed with the official Interim Government [9] whose leading members had come from the council. [3]

The council served as the undisputed government of Iran from the resignation of Bazargan and the rest of the Interim Government until the formation of first parliament (6 November 1979 - 12 August 1980). [10]

Among the actions the council took was the April 1979 creation of revolutionary tribunals to try and execute enemies of the revolution; [11] nationalization of companies; the delivery of an ultimatum in April 1980 to leftists groups to leave Iranian universities. Following this, a "large number" of leftist were "killed or wounded". [12]

Members of the council were not in complete agreement as to how they wanted Iran to be governed. Abolhassan Banisadr, Ebrahim Yazdi, and Sadegh Ghotbzadeh, and the Ayatollah Mahmoud Taleghani favoured a democratic government, while Khomeini, Beheshti, and other clerics desired a constitution with a planning council but no elected parliament, as law would be based on Sharia law interpreted by mujtahid. The later vision prevailed after the assassination of Ayatollah Mutahhari and the death of Ayatollah Mahmoud Taleghani on 10 September 1979 greatly strengthened the Islamists' hand. [5]


According to Mehdi Bazargan, members of the council were as follows: [13]

Before February 1979February–July 1979July–November 1979November 1979–July 1980
Morteza Motahhari assassinated
Mahmoud Taleghani deceased
Valiollah Qarani assassinated
Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani
Mohammad Beheshti
Mohammad Reza Mahdavi Kani
Abdul-Karim Mousavi Ardebili
Mohammad-Javad Bahonar
Ebrahim Yazdi Went to interim governmentN/A
Yadollah Sahabi Went to interim governmentN/A
Ahmad Sayyed Javadi Went to interim governmentN/A
Mostafa Katiraei Went to interim government Mostafa Katiraei N/A
Mehdi Bazargan Went to interim government Mehdi Bazargan
Ezzatollah Sahabi
Abbas Sheybani
N/A Ali Khamenei
N/A Ali-Asghar Masoudi N/A
N/A Abolhassan Banisadr
N/A Sadegh Ghotbzadeh
N/A Mir-Hossein Mousavi N/A
N/A Habibollah Payman N/A
N/A Ahmad Jalali N/A
N/A Ali Akbar Moinfar
N/A Reza Sadr


Source [14]
#ChairmanTook officeLeft officePolitical party
1 Morteza Motahhari Morteza Motahhari (9279).jpg c. November 1978 [15]
12 January 1979 (official)
1 May 1979 Combatant Clergy Association
2 Mahmoud Taleghani Portrait of Mahmoud Taleghani - c 1979.jpg 1 May 19799 September 1979 Freedom Movement
3 Abolhassan Banisadr Abolhassan Banisadr - 1979.jpg 9 September 197911 February 1980 Independent

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  1. 1 2 Mohammadighalehtaki, Ariabarzan (2012). Organisational Change in Political Parties in Iran after the Islamic Revolution of 1979. With Special Reference to the Islamic Republic Party (IRP) and the Islamic Iran Participation Front Party (Mosharekat) (Ph.D. thesis). Durham University. p. 92. Archived from the original on 2017-10-10. Retrieved 2017-06-11.
  2. Bakhash, Shaul, Reign of the Ayatollahs, Basic Books, 1984, p.64
  3. 1 2 Bakhash, Shaul, Reign of the Ayatollahs, Basic Books, 1984, p.65
  4. during the time of Khomeini's arrival in Tehran (1 February 1979) the council was described as "secret" by Baqer Moin in his book Khomeini, p.200)
  5. 1 2 Momen, Moojan, An Introduction to Shi'i Islam, Yale University Press, 1985, p. 290
  6. Event list Archived 2008-04-20 at the Wayback Machine
  7. Rubin, Barry (1980). Paved with Good Intentions (PDF). New York: Penguin Books. p. 283. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-10-21.
  8. چرا و چگونه بازرگان به نخست وزیری رسید؟ Archived 2008-04-13 at the Wayback Machine The commandment of Ayatollah Khomeini for Bazargan and his sermon on February 5.
  9. Keddie, Modern Iran, (2003) p.245
  10. Iran Archived 2008-04-18 at the Wayback Machine , World Statesmen.
  11. Bakhash, Shaul, Reign of the Ayatollahs, Basic Books, 1984, p. 61
  12. Keddie, Modern Iran, (2003) p. 250
  13. Mehdi Bazargan (19 January 2011) [11 February 1982], سخنرانی مهدی بازرگان به مناسبت سومین سالگرد انقلاب اسلامی (in Persian), Iranian History, archived from the original on 2017-02-18, retrieved 16 January 2017
  14. "شورای انقلاب و پایه‌گذاران مغضوب جمهوری اسلامی", Deutsche Welle (in Persian), 1 December 2010, archived from the original on 2017-02-17, retrieved 16 January 2017
  15. Mohsen Radadi, جنگ شوراها نگاهی به تشکیل شورای انقلاب و شورای سلطنت در زمستان 1357 (in Persian), archived from the original on 2017-02-18, retrieved 2017-02-17