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Expediency Discernment Council

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Expediency Discernment Council

مجمع تشخیص مصلحت نظام
Advisory council
Sadeq Larijani
since 30 December 2018
Mohammad Bagher Zolghadr
since 19 September 2021
Seats35 (Natural) - 13 (Ex officio)
Political groups
Conservatives (absolute majority) and Reformists (minority)[1]
Official website

The Expediency Discernment Council of the System[2] (Persian: مجمع تشخیص مصلحت نظام Majma'-e Taškhīs-e Maslahat-e Nezām) is an administrative assembly of Iran appointed by the Supreme Leader[3] and was created upon the revision to the Constitution on 6 February 1988.[4] It was originally set up to resolve differences or conflicts between the Majlis and the Guardian Council, but "its true power lies more in its advisory role to the Supreme Leader." According to Hooman Majd, the Leader "delegated some of his own authority to the council—granting it supervisory powers over all branches of the government" following President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's election in 2005.[5]

Members of the council are chosen by the Supreme Leader every five years.[6]

History and role[edit]

By 1987, the legislative process as well as the country's long-term policy formation had come to a standstill due to the doctrinal conflict between radical factions of the Islamic Consultative Assembly and the Guardian Council, which officials described as coercive at the time. Consultations in February the following year led to Ayatollah Khomeini ordering the appointment of a 13-member council that was given legislative authority: it could pass temporary laws (effective for three-year periods). Article 112 of Iran's Constitution states the EDC will be convened by the Supreme Leader to determine expedience cases where the Guardian Council finds an Islamic Consultative Assembly decision against the principles of religious law or the constitution, and where the Consultative Assembly is unable to satisfy the Guardian Council in view of the expedience of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Formally, the Expediency Discernment Council of the System (or Regime) is primarily a constitutional advisory body for the Supreme Leader (at the latter's behest), as described in article 112 of the Islamic Republic's Constitution. It is meant to "discern the interests of the Islamic Republic" by resolving internal regime conflicts.[7] The Council consisted of thirteen members when originally convened, and included six clergy members (appointed by the Supreme Leader), six public officials (President, Prime Minister, Majles Speaker, Supreme Court Chief Justice, Prosecutor General, and a Supreme Leader representative), as well as the Majles member whose legislation was overturned. The EDC Chairman is appointed every five years by the Supreme Leader.[8] Even though the Supreme Leader is a member of the Council itself (and it being his advisory council), he can deputize the Council. Nine years later, in 1997, Khamenei expanded its membership to thirty-four, twenty-five of whom were thence appointed for five-year terms. During February 2007, a new Council was formed, with twenty-seven members being directly chosen by the Supreme Leader this time.[9]

As stated by article 111, if the position of Supreme Leader is undeclared for whatever reason, a council composed of President, head of the Judiciary, and one of the jurisconsults of the Guardian Council chosen by the EDC shall discharge his functions collectively and temporarily. If any of them is unable to discharge his duties, another person shall be appointed by the EDC in his place. The Council also resolves disputes that concern the Guardian Council and the Majles. Domestic and foreign policies of the regime are determined only after consultation with the Expediency Council, according to article 110 of the Constitution (with oversight of the Supreme Leader). The Expediency Council is only meant to act on behalf of the legislative branch, although in reality it intercedes as a mediator between all bureaucratic branches, including the executive. If ratification of the Consultative Assembly is not confirmed by the Guardian Council (and deputies insist on implementing the ratification), the EDC can intervene to make a decision. The Expediency Discernment Council can advise the faghih on policy and strategy (in accordance to article 111 of the Constitution), and despite not being part of the legislative branch, it can remove parliamentary powers. As an example of this, in April 2000 it removed from parliamentary capacity the faculty to investigate institutions under the control of the Supreme Leader, such as the Pasdaran and the Council of the Guardians. In practice, its composition almost guarantees its rulings mirror the legal opinion the Guardian Council, and more importantly, the Supreme Leader's. Being dominated by conservative ulama, this has furthered the faction's grip over Iran.[10][11]

During August 2001, the Council was convened by the Supreme Leader to resolve the dispute between the Judiciary and the Assembly. The latter was dominated by reformers, while the former was dominated by conservatives, so the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei wanted the EDC to settle this political confrontation. The confrontation referred to the parliament's rejection to approve conservative candidates' appointments to the Guardian Council. Conservatives did not want to lose control of the Guardian Council, dreading president Mohammad Khatami and reformist allies would push through political and social reforms. Members of the Council are generally ayatollahs and hojatoleslams (a step before ayatollah). In 2005, the capacity of the Council to act as a government supervisory body was supplemented to its powers. The EDC's influence grew when cleric Hashemi Rafsanjani joined it.[12]


Current members (2022–2024)[edit]

Historic membership[edit]

Eighth council (2017–2022)
Seventh council (2012–2017)

On 14 March 2012, a new council was appointed for a five-year period. Eight months before the end of the council, chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani dies and Ali Movahedi-Kermani became interim chairman until the end of the council period.

Sixth council (2007–2012)

The following is a list of its members of the years (2007-2012):[13]

  1. Hashemi Rafsanjani, Akbar, Ayatollah (Chairman of the Council) *
  2. Mohsen Rezaee, PhD* (Secretary General)
  3. Jannati, Ahmad, Ayatollah *
  4. Vaez Tabasi, Abbas, Ayatollah *
  5. Amini Najafabadi, Ebrahim, Ayatollah *
  6. Haddad-Adel, Gholam Ali, PhD *
  7. Emami Kashani, Mohammad, Ayatollah *
  8. Movahedi-Kermani, Ali, Ayatollah *
  9. Habibi, Hassan Ebrahim, PhD *
  10. Mousavi, Mir Hossein MSc *
  11. Velayati, Ali Akbar, MD *
  12. Dorri Najafabadi, Ghorbanali, Ayatollah *
  13. Mohammadi Reyshahri, Mohammad, Hojatoleslam *
  14. Sane'i, Hassan, Hojatoleslam *
  15. Rouhani, Hassan, Hojatoleslam, PhD *
  16. Asgar Owladi, Habibollah *
  17. Larijani, Ali, PhD *
  18. Bahonar, Mohammad Reza
  19. Tavassoli Mahallati, Mohammad Reza, Ayatollah *
  20. Mirsalim, Mostafa *
  21. Nabavi, Morteza *
  22. Ali Akbar Nategh-Nouri, Hojatoleslam *
  23. Firouzabadi, Hassan, Major General *
  24. Aghazadeh, Gholam Reza *
  25. Namdar Zanganeh, Bijan *
  26. Ali Agha-Mohammadi
  27. Mohammad Forouzandeh
  28. Davoud Danesh-Jafari
  29. Majid Ansari
  30. Hossein Mozaffar
  31. Mohammad Javad Irvani
  32. Mohammad Reza Aref
  33. Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Eje'i
  34. Mohammad Hashemi Rafsanjani
  35. Parviz Davoodi

Ex officio members:

  1. President
  2. Speaker of Majles
  3. Chief of the Judiciary
  4. The minister concerned depending on the subject under discussion
  5. The representative of Majlis commission concerning the subject discussed
  • If mediating between Majlis and Guardian Council, the council will also include the six clerics of the Guardian Council.

Fifth council (2002–2007)

The following is a list of its members of the years 2002-2007.[14]

  1. Hashemi Rafsanjani, Akbar, Ayatollah (Chairman) *
  2. Amini Najafabadi, Ibrahim, Ayatollah *
  3. Vaez Tabasi, Abbas, Hojatoleslam *
  4. Emami Kashani, Mohammad, Ayatollah *
  5. Mousavi, Mir Hussein *
  6. Velayati, Ali Akbar *
  7. Mohammadi Reyshahri, Mohammad, Hojatoleslam *
  8. Sane'i, Hassan, Hojatoleslam *
  9. Rouhani, Hassan, Hojatoleslam, PhD *
  10. Asgar Owladi, Habibollah *
  11. Dorri Najafabadi, Qorbanali, Hojatoleslam *
  12. Larijani, Ali *
  13. Mirsalim, Mostafa *
  14. Tavassoli Mahallati, Mohammadreza, Ayatollah *
  15. Nabavi, Morteza *
  16. Firouzabadi, Hassan, Major General *
  17. Aqazadeh, Gholamreza *
  18. Namdar Zanganeh, Bijan *
  19. Rafsanjani, Mohammad Hashemi *
  20. Habibi, Hassan Ibrahim *
  21. Mohsen Rezaee * (Secretary General of the Council)
  22. Ahmad Jannati
  23. Ali Movahedi-Kermani
  24. Ali Akbar Nategh-Nouri
  25. Mohammad Reza Aref
  26. Gholam Ali Haddad-Adel
  27. Majid Ansari
  28. Mohammad Reza Bahonar
  29. Hossein Mozaffar
  30. Mohammad Javad Irvani
  31. Mehdi Karroubi (appointed at 2004)

(*) Re-appointed

Ex officio members:

  1. President
  2. Speaker of Majles
  3. Chief of the Judiciary
  4. The minister concerned depending on the subject under discussion
  5. The representative of Majlis commission concerning the subject discussed
  • If mediating between Majlis and Guardian Council, the council will also include the six clerics of the Guardian Council.

Fourth council (1997–2002)

The following is a list of its members of the years 1997-2002.[15]

Third council (1992–1997)

The following is a list of its members of the years 1992–1997.

Second council (1989–1992)

The following is a list of its members of the years 1989-1992.

First council (February 6, 1988–1989)

The following is a list of its members of the year 1988-1989.


Colour key:

Chairperson Tenure Supreme Leader
Name Picture Took office Left Office
1 Ali Khamenei 7 February 1988 4 June 1989 Ruhollah Khomeini
2 Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani 4 October 1989 8 January 2017
(died in office)
Ali Khamenei
Ali Movahedi-Kermani
1 February 2017 14 August 2017
3 Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi 14 August 2017 24 December 2018
(died in office)
Ali Movahedi-Kermani
29 December 2018[16] 30 December 2018
4 Sadeq Larijani 30 December 2018 Incumbent

See also[edit]

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Iran conservatives tighten grip on top oversight body", Agence France-Presse, Yahoo, 14 August 2017, archived from the original on 21 February 2019, retrieved 14 August 2017
  2. ^ مجمع تشخیص مصلحت نظام Archived 2006-11-27 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Expediency Council BBC News
  4. ^ Foreign press and media department Archived 2007-08-21 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Majd, Hooman, The Ayatollah Begs to Differ: The Paradox of Modern Iran, Doubleday, 2008, pp. 246-7.
  6. ^ "Islamic Republic of Iran Expediency Discernment Council of the System". Archived from the original on 2013-05-22. Retrieved 2013-07-05.
  7. ^ Amin Tarzi, 2011. Iranian Puzzle Piece: Understanding Iran in the Global Context. DIANE Publishing. p. 92. ISBN 978-1-4379-4423-5.
  8. ^ Karadag, Murat. "Iran appoints chief of influential expediency council". Anadolu Agency. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  9. ^ Yonah Alexander; Milton M. Hoenig. 2008. The New Iranian Leadership: Ahmadinejad, Terrorism, Nuclear Ambition, and the Middle East. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 17. ISBN 978-0-275-99639-0.
  10. ^ Yvette Hovsepian-Bearce, 2015. The Political Ideology of Ayatollah Khamenei: Out of the Mouth of the Supreme Leader of Iran. Routledge. pp. 112–113. ISBN 978-1-317-60582-9.
  11. ^ Barry Rubin, 2015. The Middle East: A Guide to Politics, Economics, Society and Culture. Taylor & Francis. p. 224. ISBN 978-1-317-45577-6.
  12. ^ Ahmad Reza Taheri, 2012. The Baloch in Post Islamic Revolution Iran: A Political Study. Lulu.com. pp. 45–46. ISBN 978-0-557-32837-6.
  13. ^ تركيب تازه اعضاي مجمع تشخيص مصلحت Archived 2007-03-02 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ مجمع تشخیص مصلحت نظام Archived 2007-06-22 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ "Islamic Republic of Iran, Members of the Expediency Discernment Council of the System". Archived from the original on 2006-10-21. Retrieved 2007-01-03.
  16. ^ چه‌کسی در فقدان آیت‌الله شاهرودی مجمع تشخیص مصلحت را اداره می‌کند؟

External links[edit]