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Majles al-Shura


National assembly of Iran.

The history of a representative, elected assembly in Iran dates to the Constitutional Revolution, when the Majles was stipulated as the legislative branch of government in the constitution. The first elections were held in the summer of 1906, and the new Majles convened in October. Except for a brief period from its inception to the end of World War I, and again from 1941 to 1953, the Majles in monarchical Iran did not enjoy a significant degree of autonomy, and it exercised little initiative in the nation's political life. Women gained suffrage in 1963, and twenty-four assemblies met from 1906 to 1978.

After the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the Majles al-Shura-ye Melli (National Assembly) was renamed the Majles al-Shura-ye Islami (Islamic Assembly), and it has played a prominent role in political affairs. The first postrevolutionary Majles opened on 28 May 1980 and elected Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani as its speaker. Its most significant act was the impeachment of the Islamic Republic's first president, Abolhasan Bani Sadr, in June 1981. After Rafsanjani became president in 1989, Mehdi Karrubi succeeded him as speaker of the Majles, a position he held until 1992, when he failed to win a seat in that year's elections. Ali Akbar Nateq-e Nuri then served as speaker until he was defeated in the 2000 Majles elections. Karrubi returned to the Majles in those elections and again was elected as speaker.

see also bani sadr, abolhasan; constitutional revolution; iranian revolution (1979); rafsanjani, ali akbar hashemi.


Abrahamian, Ervand. Iran between Two Revolutions. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1982.

Moslem, Mehdi. Factional Politics in Post-Khomeini Iran. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2002.

neguin yavari
updated by eric hooglund

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