• Iran is a theocratic Islamic republic governed under the constitution of 1979, which codified Islamic principles of government. The constitution was revised in 1989, expanding presidential powers and eliminating the position of prime minister. The president, who is popularly elected for a four-year term, serves as the head of government. The supreme leader, who effectively serves as the chief of state, is appointed for life by an Islamic religious advisory board (the Guardian Council) that works in close conjunction with the government. The legislative branch consists of the 270-seat Islamic consultative assembly, or parliament, whose members are elected by popular vote. Although Iran has no legal political parties, there are at least three important political groups, as well as a number of pressure groups, some of which have been suppressed by the government.

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