Index / Political situation /
The National Assembly (Islamic Consultative Assembly) has 270 members, of which about one-third are elected from single-member constituencies.
In addition there are 5 councils. The Supreme Council for National Security, and has 10 members. The Council of Experts has 86 members, all Islamic theologians. The Council of Guardians is made up of 6 Muslim jurists. The two further councils oversee the implementation of Sharia, Muslim law, in Iran.
The regime of Khatami slowly opened up parts of the political structures of Iran, allowing a little more political freedom and freedom of speech. Iran was stable but there were, and are, strong oppositional undercurrents against the domination of Islam in the political reality.
The regime in Iran has been losing much of its control over what happens inside the country. This is because the economy is weak, and because much energy has been used on the international arena. It remains uncertain on who has the actual power in Iran right now, the non-clergy rulers or the religious leaders. It seems clear that at least some power has moved over to the hands of the non-clergy rulers, but there is a strong theocratic influence on the symbolics of the government. The constitution remains Islamic, and the appearance inside, and outside Iran, is always stamped by the Islamic orientation.
The opposition against the regime has been weakened over the last years, but there is now operating an exile government, which of course has no other importance than propagating their aims on the international scene.
The violent actions performed inside Iran by the illegal opposition has become rarer in the recent years, but little suggests that internal disagreement with the present rulers is dwindling.
Iran's international position remains impregnated by little will of adjusting to both Western, and Middle Eastern politicians and diplomats. Iran's foremost importance on the international arena, is through supporting groups like Hizbullah in Lebanon and Hamas in Palestine.
Iran is still very much concerned about the Western border area towards Iraq, and is strongly opposing US attempts to gain influence in Iraq, but this happens without expressing support for Saddam Hussayn.