May 21, 2013, 10:42 AM
News Code: 80665495
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The Guardian Council

Tehran, May 21, IRNA - The Guardian Council is an appointed and constitutionally-mandated 12-member body that wields considerable power and influence in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

According to the Constitution, the council is composed of six Islamic faqihs (expert in Islamic law), "conscious of the present needs and the issues of the day" selected by the Supreme Leader, and six jurists, "specializing in different areas of law, elected by the Majlis (the Parliament) from among the Muslim jurists nominated by head of the Judiciary," (who, in turn, is also appointed by the supreme leader).

The council was established in 1980 after its Islamic faqihs were elected by the Father of the Islamic Revolution the late Imam Khomeini.

The council is charged with interpreting the Constitution of Iran, supervising elections of, and approving of candidates to the Assembly of Experts, the President and the Majlis, and "ensuring ... the compatibility of the legislation passed by the Islamic Consultative Assembly (Majlis) ... with the criteria of Islam and the Constitution" as the watchdog of the constitution it can veto any law passed by the Majlis.

The Majlis has no legal status without the Guardian Council. Any bill passed by the Majlis must be reviewed and approved by the Guardian Council to become law.

Since 1991, all candidates of parliamentary or presidential elections, as well as candidates for the Assembly of Experts, have to be qualified by the Guardian Council in order to run in the election.