Council of the Islamic Revolution

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The Council of the Islamic Revolution (Persian: شورای انقلاب اسلامی, Showra-ye Enghelāb Eslāmi) was a group formed by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to manage the Iranian Revolution on 12 January 1979, shortly before he returned to Iran. "Over the next few months there issued from the council hundreds of rulings and laws, dealing with everything from bank nationalization to nurses' salaries."[1] Its existence was kept a secret during the early, less secure time of the revolution,[2] 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, Mohammad Beheshti, Qarani died during Iran-Iraq War or were assassinated by the MKO during the first years after the revolution. Most of those who remained were put aside by the Regime.[3]


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, Abolhassan Banisadr, Mahdavi Kani, Yadollah Sahabi, Katirayee, Ahmad Seyed Javadi, Qarani and Ali Asqr Masoodi,[4] Ali Akbar Moinfar, Nasser Minachi (until 1979) and Sadegh Ghotbzade.[5]

The council put Mahdi Bazargan forward as the prime minister of the temporary government of Iran, which Khomeini accepted.[6]

It has been described as "a parallel government" that passed laws and competed with the official Provisional Revolutionary Government[7] whose leading members had come from the council.[1]

The council served as the undisputed government of Iran from the resignation of Bazargan and the rest of the Provisional Revolutionary Government until the formation of first parliament. (6 November 1979 - 12 August 1980).[8]

Among the actions the council took was the April 1979 creation of revolutionary tribunals to try and execute enemies of the revolution;[9] 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".[10]

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.[3]


# Name Picture Born-Died Took Office Left Office Political Party
1 Morteza Motahari 1920–1979 January 12, 1979 May 1, 1979 Combatant Clergy Association
2 Mahmoud Taleghani 1911–1979 May 1, 1979 September 9, 1979 Freedom Movement of Iran
3 Abolhassan Banisadr Bani Sadr 1958.jpg 1933 - September 9, 1979 February 11, 1980 Independent

See also



  1. 1.0 1.1 Bakhash, Shaul, Reign of the Ayatollahs, Basic Books, 1984, p.65
  2. 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)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Momen, Moojan, An Introduction to Shi'i Islam, Yale University Press, 1985, p. 290
  4. Event list
  5. Rubin, Barry (1980). Paved with Good Intentions (PDF). New York: Penguin Books. p. 283.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. چرا و چگونه بازرگان به نخست وزیری رسید؟ The commandment of Ayatollah Khomeini for Bazargan and his sermon on February 5.
  7. Keddie, Modern Iran, (2003) p.245
  8. Iran, World Statesmen.
  9. Bakhash, Shaul, Reign of the Ayatollahs, Basic Books, 1984, p. 61
  10. Keddie, Modern Iran, (2003) p. 250


  • Bakhash, Shaul (1984). Reign of the Ayatollahs. Basic Books.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Keddie, Nikki (2003). Modern Iran: Roots and Results of Revolution. Yale University Press.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Moin, Baqer (2000). Khomeini: Life of the Ayatollah. Thomas Dunne Books.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
Government offices
Preceded by
The Interim Government of Iran
Interim Government of Iran
Succeeded by
Government of Mohammad-Ali Rajai