- Political parties in Iran
Iran has regular presidential and parliamentary elections. Only those candidates and parties that are approved by the clerical
Guardian Councilcan be elected. The system as a whole is presented as a "republic" based on Islamist ideology.
Currently, there are 223 [ [http://www.moi.ir/Portal/File/ShowFile.aspx?ID=729faeac-9ff4-48e3-95ec-7fa595415029 List of the parties] ] registered political parties, associations and organizations that have been given legitimacy to operate, but not as an opposition to the religious system of the governance. They usually operate in loose alignments within two main coalitions, the conservative and the reformist.
Parties inside Iran
Islamic Society of Engineers: secretary-general Mohammad Reza Bahonar
Combatant Clergy Association: secretary-general Mohammad Reza Mahdavi-Kani
Islamic Coalition Party: secretary-general Habibollah Asgaroladi
Association of Islamic Revolution Loyalists: secretary-general Hassan Ghafurifard
Moderation and Development Party: secretary-general Mohammad Baqer Nobakht
*Coalition of Iran's Independent Volunteers : spokesman
Iranian Nation's Welfare Party: secretary-general Khalil Ali Mohammadzadeh
*Fundamentalist groups: lead by
Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi
Association of Combatant Clerics: secretary-general Mohammad Mousavi Khoeiniha
Islamic Iran Participation Front: secretary-general Mohsen Mirdamadi
National Confidence Party: secretary-general Mehdi Karrubi
Executives of Construction Party: secretary-general Gholamhossein Karbaschi
Society of Forces Following the Line of the Imam: secretary-general Hadi Khamenei
Organisation of the Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution: secretary-general Mohammad Salamati
Islamic Labour Party: secretary-general Abolqasem Sarhadizadeh
Workers' House: secretary-general Alireza Mahjub
Iran Solidarity Party: secretary-general Ebrahim Asgharzadeh
Youth Party of Iran: secretary-general Mahdi Agha-Alikhani
Freedom Party of Iran: secretary-general Majid Mohtashami
There are a many tolerated groups not allowed to participate in the elections. They are close to the reformists and grouped in a coalition named the Nationalist-Religious Forces whose spokesman is
Ezzatollah Sahabi. The main party of the coalition is the Freedom Movement Partyof Ebrahim Yazdi, but also the Movement of Muslim Militantsof Habibollah Peyman. There is also the Kurdish United Front.
Opposition parties active in exile
There are 66 political parties outside Iran (they fled the Islamist Regime). Only 13 are fully active of which 4 are powerful. These 66 parties can be divided into 6 ideological branches from left to right :
- the Communists (17 parties)
- the Socialists and Social-Democrats (8 parties)
- the Ethnicalists (23 parties)
- the Nationalists (6 parties)
- the Liberal-Democrats (8 parties)
- the Conservatives (4 parties)
Notoriety of these parties
In fact a lot of Iranians do not know the majority of these 66 exiled political parties. The parties known by nearly all Iranians are the Mojahedin, the Monarchists (falsely believed to be one party), the National Front (known in Iran as the Mossadeghists), the Fadayan-e Khalq and the Tudeh Party (today an agonizing party but falsely believed by many to be the only Communist Party). For example, few Iranians are aware of the existence of the Hekmatist Party although the latter is more dynamic than the Tudeh. Only 4 parties out of the 66 could be considered as powerful, in order :
People's Mojahedin Organization of Iranof Maryam Rajavi, (Conservative)
Constitutionalist Party of Iranof Daryoush Homayoun, (Liberal-Democrat)
Organization of Iranian People's Fedaian (Majority)of Behrouz Khaliq(Socialist)
National Front of Iranof Adib Boroumand, (Liberal Nationalist)
List of political parties in Iran."
The rest of the Opposition is insignificant : for example the "Labor Party" or the "Green Party" or the "Rastakhiz Organization" are rather tiny clubs of individuals than political parties and do not influence the political arena of Iran. But 9 of them are of some importance :
- The Tudeh Party and the Communist Party of Iran (of Ebrahim Alizadeh), which were important parties in the past, exist today in a very anemic state.
- The Worker-Communist Party of Iran was formerly powerful and led by the charismatic Mansoor Hekmat before splitting into three weak parties [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_political_parties_in_Iran#Hekmatism] when the latter died in 2002. Among the three parties the Hekmatist Party is the most vocal.
- The National Movement of Iranian Resistance (NAMIR) of Shahpour Bakhtiar [http://www.cyrusnews.com/audio/1985%20IRTV.wmv] , the Party of the Iranian Nation (PIN) of Darius and Parvaneh Foroohar and the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (DPIK) of Abdul Rahman Qasimlo, although prominent parties in the past, have almost been destroyed with the killings of their charismatic leaders by the Islamic Republic. The NAMIR has almost ceased to exist, whereas the PIN and the DPIK struggle to expand their activities. In December 2006, the DPIK split another time into two groups.
- The Organization of Revolutionary Workers of Iran (Rahe Kargar) has isolated itself by rejecting joint actions or even dialogue with non-communist parties (they do not have a good relation even with some communist parties deemed not too radical like the Tudeh Party). The Rahe Kargar is seen by many right and left parties as a sectarian and inflexible party. [http://www.etehadefedaian.org/?page=article&nid=1296]
- The social-democratic Komala (not to be confused with the communist Komalah with an h), although an important party, can't be classified among the four powerful party of the Opposition cited above since its modest activities are only concentrated in the kurdish-inhabited provinces of Iran. Furthermore Komala split into two parties in August 2007 [http://www.komala.org/farsi/aqlit/071004_BahmanAlyar.htm] .
- The Islamic Society of the Iranians has few members but has a prominent leader (
- The Union of People's Fedaian of Iran is the Iranian Party with the most ties with other Opposition parties (it has warm relations even with the Rahe Kargar). It has been designated as the twin sister of the Organization of Iranian People's Fedaian-Majority but has far fewer members.
Important individuals without party
There are important exiled individuals with no party who are also important :
Ali Afshari, Amir-Abbas Fakhravar, Hassan Zarezadeh Ardeshir, Ahmad Batebior Manuchehr Mohammadifrom the student segment, Mohsen Sazegara, a founder of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, Ramin Jahanbegloo, Abdolkarim Soroushor Dariush Shayegan, influential secular and religious intellectuals, Roya Toloui, a woman activist, Akbar Ganji, the well-known political activist and journalist, Abbas Amir-Entezam, the longest political prisoner of Iran (27 years), Simin Behbahani, one of the most prominent figures in modern Persian literature, Nasser Zarafshan, a famous attorney, Abolhassan Banisadr, the first president of Iran, etc… Even among the clerics based inside and outside Iran, there are numerous radical dissidents but some are more prominent, for example : Hossein Khomeini, grandson of the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi, Ayatollah Ganjei (exiled in Paris), Ayatollah Mehdi Haeri Khorshidi(exiled in Germany) or Hojjatoleslam Ezimi Qedimi, etc. Several mullah dissidents around the world created "the Free Muslims" : [http://www.freemuslim.org/sohof/drood/main.htm] .
Before the year 2003, a lot of parties tried to form a coalition against the Islamic regime and failed. Only two unions succeeded; but even them - which are the
National Council of Resistance of Iranand the Workers Left Unity - Iran- are just an alliance of two parties : the conservative People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran and the marxist Organization of Iranian People Fadaee Guerillas for the first one and the Iranian fedaian communist league and the Organization of Revolutionary Workers of Iran (Rahe Kargar) for the latter.
Some Communists (the Tudeh Party for example), the Socialists (above all Organization of Iranian People's Fedaian-Majority), the Nationalists (for instance the National Front), the Monarchists (as the Constitutionalist Party) and the Ethnicalists (like the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan) several times discussed how to come together in the past, but without results, given that :
1) Almost all the Communists (for instance the Rahe Kargar [http://www.etehadefedaian.org/pdf/10.ram] ) are opposed to cooperating with non-communist parties.
2) The main challenge comes from the Monarchists, for leftist or some pro-republican parties are reticent to form an alliance with them.
3) Few are also opposed to dialogue with the Mojahedin.
Because of that, western journalists and Iran experts have repeatedly said that the Opposition is ineffective, discredited and inflexible.
However, since 2003 the leftist activists did what no others had done in the past : they created the United Republicans of Iran (URI), a federation of three pro-republican parties : [http://www.iran-press-service.com/articles_2004/Jan_04/iranian_republicans_meet_8104.htm] , [http://www.jomhouri.com/plus/documents/founding_assembly_report.htm] . Over one thousand personnalities took part in the inauguration of the URI in Berlin. At the same time, in Paris, other leftists created another alliance named the Democratic and Secular Republicans of Iran (DSRI).
The DSRI is considered more leftist than the URI and its members belong to three socialist parties : the Union of People's Fedaian of Iran, the Organization of Iranian Socialists and the Provisional Council of Iranian Left Socialists [http://www.sedaye-ma.org/web/show_article.php?file=src/didgah/darvishpour_11092006.htm] . The URI is more prominent and is a federation of three parties, namely the Democratic People's Party of Iran of Babak Amirkhosravi (a separated fraction of the communist Tudeh party), the Iranian National Republicans of
Hassan Shariatmadari, son of the late Grand Ayatollah Kazem Shariatmadari, and the Organization of Iranian People's Fedaian-Majority. The Democratic People's Party of Iran has ceased to exist and was absorbed by the URI, the Iranian National Republicans (http://www.iran-jommelli.com) exists by name but all its activities is done within the URI, but the OIPF-M continues its activities inside and also outside the URI. [http://www.iran-press-service.com/articles_2004/Jan_04/iranian_republicans_meet_8104.htm] .
Both the URI and the DSRI are still discussing how to forme a single union to form a strong "republican" (=leftist) force [http://jomhouri.com/a/01ann/006375.php] . Both have also invited two ethnical parties (the DPIK and the Komala), a centrist party (the National Front of Iran), a far left party (the Provisional Council of Iranian Left Socialists) and even a conservative party (the Islamic Society of the Iranians) to these negotiations which took place on September 22 2007. [http://www.etehadefedaian.org/?page=article&nid=1843] ; [http://www.kar-online.com/yaddasht/yaddasht-khaligh-4.html]
Moreover, since September 2005 a greater spectrum of these exiled parties who used to be very divided (even among groups of similar philosophies) have begun to unite. Reza Pahlavi had dinner in Berlin with some of the leftists who had helped to overthrow his father, and it generated outrage on both the left and the right.
For the first time, a Republican (the late spokesman of the National Front of Iran) Parviz Varjavand wrote in an article in August 2006 [http://www.cyrusnews.com/news/en/?mi=1&ni=487&y=1] that Democracy is compatible with both a Constitutional Monarchy and a Republic and that the issue should not be between Constitutional Monarchy and Republic. The Green Party of Iran led by Kayvan Koboli said the same thing months before Parviz Varjavand : [http://www.iran-e-sabz.org/articles/ticle5.html] . Heshmat Raeisi, ex-member of the Central Committee of both the Fedai and the Tudeh Party [http://www.iisg.nl/image_sound/video/iran.php#RAEI] , participated in the sixth Congress of the (monarchist) Constitutionalist Party of Iran in November 2006 and gave a speech : [http://irancpi.net/goftarha/media_9_0.html] ; in February 2007 Dariush Homayoun of the rightist Constitutionalist Party of Iran wrote a friendly letter to the major leftist party (the OIPFG (M)) [http://www.iran-emrooz.net/index.php?/ahzab/more/11939/] . Hossein Bagherzadeh of the latter party answered : [http://talash-online.com/didgha/matn_105_1.html] .
Gathering together (2008)
The situation as of 2008 is clearer. Four political groups are emerging :- a leftist bloc comprising 3 parties :
The Organization of Iranian People's Fedaian (Majority)+ The Union of People's Fedaian of Iran+ The Provisional Council of Iranian Left Socialists
- a center-right bloc comprising 8 parties :
The National Front of Iran+ The Iran Party+ The Party of the Iranian Nation+ The National Resistance Movement of Iran+ The Pan-Iranist Party+ The Liberal Democrats of Iran + The Constitutionalist Party of Iran+ The Constitutional Movement of Iran-Front Line+ The Democratic Front of Iran
- an Islamic party : the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran, the main Opposition group.
- an ethnical bloc grouped in the "Congress of Iranian Nationalities" (16 parties) :
Cultural & civil Society of Khorasani Kurds+ The Kurdistan Freedom Party+ The Balochistan People's Front+ The Balochistan United Front-Federal Republican+ The Baluchistan National Movement - Iran+ The Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan+ The Party of United Lurestan and Bakhtiari+ The Balochistan Peoples Party+ The Democratic Solidarity Party of al-Ahwaz+ The National Movement of Iranian Turkmenistan+ The Southern Azerbaijan National Awakening Movement+ The Turkmen National Democratic Movement+ The Organization for Defence of the Rights of Turkmen People+ The Komala Party of Iranian Kurdistan+ The Federal-Democratic Movement of Azerbaijan+ The Azerbaijan Diplomatic Mission
Names and websites of the Opposition
Here are the names and the programs of all known Iranian political parties based in exile (Europe, USA, Canada, Australia, and sometimes Turkey, Iraq, Dubai, Israel, Pakistan) :
There are 18 Iranian communist parties. However only two out of them could be considered alive, namely the "Hekmatist Party", and the "Organization of Revolutionary Workers of Iran (Rahe Kargar)".
The well-known Communist Party which used to be very powerful. No longer very active. The oldest political party in Iran.
Tudeh Party of Iranled by Mohammad Omidvar. The International Department of the Tudeh Party of Iran is headed by Navid Shomali.http://www.tudehpartyiran.org/ or http://www.rahetudeh.com/
The four splits of the Worker-Communist Party of Iran :
Worker-Communist Party of Iranled by Hamid Taqvaee.http://www.wpiran.org
*Hekmatist Party led by Koorosh Modaressi.http://www.hekmatist.com
Worker Communism Unity Party of Iranled by Ali Javadi.http://www.for-abetterworld.com
Workers Socialist Unityled by Reza Moghaddam/Iraj Azarinhttp://www.wsu-iran.org/
The two Maoist parties :
Communist Party of Iran (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist)with Nasrin Jazayerihttp://www.sarbedaran.org/
Toilers Party of Iran(Hezbe Ranjbarane Iran), a 1979 split of the Tudeh Party with Younes Parsa-banabhttp://www.ranjbaran.org/
The original communist motherparty was called "Organization of Iranian People's Fedai Guerrillas". Since 1980, it has split 8 times and 6 of them are still communist. The other two (tha vast majority of the members) have evolved into socialist parties.
*Organization of Fedaian (Minority)http://www.fadaian-minority.org/
Minority's Cell(dead party ?) led by Mastoureh Ahmadzadehhttp://www.hasteh.com/
*Iranian People's Fadaee Guerrillas led by Ashraf Dehghani.http://www.siahkal.com/
*Organization of Iranian People's Fedayee Guerrillas led by Mehdi Same and allied with the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran in the
National Council of Resistance of Iran.http://www.fadaian.org/ or http://www.jonge-khabar.com/ or http://www.iran-nabard.com/
*Organization of Iranian Peoples Fedaii Guerrillas led by Hossein Zahri.http://www.iranian-fedaii.de/
Iranian fedaian communist leaguehttp://fedayi.org/
Labor Party of Iran(or Toufan, supporting Enver Hoxha's communism).http://www.toufan.org/
Organization of Revolutionary Workers of Iran (Rahe Kargar)led by Mohammad-Reza Shalgoonihttp://www.rahekargar.net/
Komalahled by Ebrahim Alizadeh. It is, according to them, the "kurdish section" of the Communist Party of Iran. In fact the Komalah and the Communist Party of Iran are the same.http://www.komalah.org (for Komalah) and http://www.cpiran.org/ (for the Communist Party of Iran)
Socialist Party of Iranled by Fereydoon Gilani.http://www.jonbesh-iran.com/
Only the "Organization of Iranian People's Fedaian-Majority" and the "Union of People's Fedaian of Iran" are active. The "United Republicans of Iran" (URI) and the "Democratic and Secular Republicans of Iran" (DSRI) are not really parties but federations of parties and both are strong.
United Republicans of Iran(International Relations Coordinator : Mehdi Amini)http://www.jomhouri.com/
Democratic and Secular Republicans of Iran(spokesman : Mehrdad Darvishpour ?)http://www.tabja.com/
Organization of Iranian People's Fedaian (Majority)with Behrouz Khaliq as its secretary-general and Hassan Zahtab as its foreign relations coordinator.http://www.kar-online.com/ or in English/French/German: http://www.fadai.org/
Union of People's Fedaian of Iranwith Parviz Navidi/Ahmad Azad.http://www.etehadefedaian.org/
Provisional Council of Iranian Left Socialistswith Majid Zarbakhshhttp://www.tarhino.com/
Organization of Iranian Socialistsled by Mansour Bayatzadeh (their members are called Socialist Mossadeghists), close to the National Front of Iranhttp://www.ois-iran.com/
Green Party of Iranled by Kayvan Kaboli.http://www.iran-e-sabz.org/
Social Democratic Party of Iranled by Jalal Madani/Khosro Shakeri.http://www.spiran.com/
Neither secular nor islamist. They are against the application of the Sharia but at the same time oppose everything opposed to what they call “the main principles of Islam”. They believe in the equality between men and women and at the same time their female supporters are mostly veiled. The "People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran", which used to have an "army" in Iraq until 2003, is considered to be the best organized opposition group of Iran.
People's Mojahedin Organization of Iranled by Maryam Rajavi.http://www.mojahedin.org/ or http://www.hambastegimeli.com/
Islamic Society of the Iraniansled by Abolhassan Banisadrhttp://enghelabe-eslami.com/ or http://www.majameeslamiiranian.com/
Tachye Alavi Movement(dead party ?) led by Mohammad Malekihttp://www.nehzatetashyealavi.com/
The Freedom-seekers Combattants of Iran, a pro-Shariati partyhttp://www.samaa.org/
Most of them are republican but some favor a constitutional monarchy as in Spain. Among the Nationalists, the divided "National Front" is the most active. The Monarchist Nationalists are the Pan-Iranist Party and the Rastakhiz Organization. The Republican Nationalists have many contacts inside Iran. They are united in an organization called "Melliun" [http://www.melliun.org] (except the Pan-Iranist Party). They have the particularity of being the only opposition parties to be openly present in Iran :
*National Front of Iran led by Adib Boroumand (based in Iran)http://www.jminews.com or http://www.jebhemelli.net/
Iran Partyled by Nezamoddin Movahed. (a social democratic party)http://www.melliun.org/hezbeir02.htm
Party of the Iranian Nationled by Khosrow Seif.http://www.melliun.org/hezbemel02.htm or https://hezbemellateiran.com/
*National Movement of Iranian Resistance led by Ali Shahandeh. Used to be very active before the assassination of Shahpour Bakhtiar and his Secretary Soroush Katibeh. http://www.melliun.org/nehzatm.htm or http://www.namir.info/
Pan-Iranist Partyled by Zahra Gholamipour.http://www.paniranist.org/ or http://www.paniranism.org/ or http://www.paniranist.com/
Rastakhiz Organizationled by Masoud Khoshnoodhttp://www.rastakhiz.org/
Only the "Constitutionalist Party of Iran" is active. The majority of the Liberal-Democrats favor a constitutional monarchy in Iran.
*Constitutionalist Party of Iran (CPI) : the main Monarchist Party led by
*Marze Por Gohar Party led by Roozbeh Farahanipoor.http://www.marzeporgohar.org
The Liberal Democrats of Iranwith Ramin Kamran.http://www.iranliberal.com/
the Democratic Front of Iranled by Heshmatollah Tabarzadi.http://www.idfravabet.blogfa.com/
Democrat Party of Iranled by Kaveh Shirzad.http://www.irandp.org
Constitutional Movement of Iran-Front Lineled by Mehrdad Khonsari.http://www.cmi-fl.com/
Flag of Freedom Organization of Iranled by Manouchehr Ganji. Known in his Persian name : Derafshe Kaviyani. http://www.derafsh.org/
The DPIK and Komala are considered alive. Some of these ethnical parties formed a union called "Congress of Iranian Nationalities" : http://www.iranfederal.org/
Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistanled by Mustafa Hejri. http://www.kurdistanmedia.com/ or http://www.pdki.org/ (English)
Kurdistan Democratic Partyhttp://kurdistanukurd.com/
*Komala, a separated fraction of Komalah, is led by Abdollah Mohtadi.http://www.komala.org
*Pejak, a group linked to the
PKKand led by Ronahi Ahmed.http://pjak.org/
Organization of Iranian Kurdistan Strugglehttp://www.sazmanikhabat.com/
*The Revolutionary Khabat Organization of Iranian Kurdistanhttp://www.khabat.org/
Kurdistan Freedom Partyhttp://www.pazadik.com/
Balochistan People's Frontled by Reza Hossein Borr.http://balochistanpeoplesfront.blogspot.com/
Balochistan United Front (Federal Republican)http://www.balochunitedfront.org/
Baluchistan National Movement-Iranhttp://www.zrombesh.org/
Balochistan People's Partyled by Nasser Booladeihttp://www.ostomaan.org/
Southern Azerbaijan National Awakening Movement(GAMOH) is led by Dr. Mahmut Ali Çöhreganlıhttp://www.gamoh.org
Federal-Democratic Movement of Azerbaijanhttp://www.achiq.org/
Democratic Party of Azerbaijanhttp://www.adf-mk.org/
Azerbaijan Cultural Societyhttp://www.tribun.com/
For more information about these parties : [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics_of_Khuzestan#Arab_politics_and_separatism]
Democratic Solidarity Party of Ahwazhttp://alahwaz.info
Ahwazian Arab people’s Democratic, Popular Fronthttp://www.alahwaz.com
Ahwazi Renaissance Partyhttp://www.al-mohamra.nu/
Ahwaz Liberation Organisationhttp://www.alahwaz-revolutionary-council.org/
Organization for Defence of the Rights of Turkmen Peoplehttp://www.turkmenler.org/
National Movement of Iranian Turkmenistanhttp://www.erkinlik.org/
Turkmen National Democratic Movementhttp://www.turkmenlik.org/
Lurs & Bakhtiaris
Party of United Lurestan and Bakhtiariled by Faramarz Bakhtiarhttp://www.bakhtiar.de/1628235.htm
* [http://www.ir-ph.org/ Khane Ahzab Iran] (House of Iran's political parties)
Index of political partiesto browse parties by name
List of political partiesto browse parties by country
List of political parties by ideologyto browse parties by name
* Membership of internationals to browse parties by membership of internationals
Politics of Iran
Liberalism in Iran
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