Government, Political Parties
Islamic Republican Party, internal dissent, Majlis, IRP, presidential elections
Political parties developed in Iran during the 1940s. Most parties were banned after forces loyal to the shah overthrew Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq and instituted martial law in 1953, although many continued to operate secretly until the 1979 revolution, when they reemerged openly. Immediately after the revolution, Iranís leading clerics established the Islamic Republican Party (IRP), which dominated politics until it was dissolved in 1987 due to internal dissent. Following uprisings by several opposition parties in 1981, new regulations made it increasingly difficult for political groups to hold public meetings and recruit new members. An official body was created to license political parties, but since 1987 it has recognized the legal existence of only a few parties.
Nevertheless, the government tolerates political activities by various associations that function as de facto parties by endorsing candidates for legislative and presidential elections. One such unofficial party, the Jamiyat-e Ruhaniyan Mobarez (Association of Militant Clergy), generally supports legislation favorable to private business. The Majma-e Ruhaniyat-e Mobarez (Society of Militant Clergy), which dominated the Majlis from the late 1980s until 1992, advocates government regulation of the economy and progressive income taxes to redistribute wealth equitably. The Kargozaran-e Sazandegi (Servants of Construction), followers of former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, support a strong government role in development projects. The Nezhat-e Azadi (Liberation Movement of Iran) stresses the need for expanding and protecting civil liberties. The (Hezb-e Mosha Karat-e Islami Iran (Islamic Iran Participation Party), supporters of Khatami, stress the need to create a civil society based on the rule of law.
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