Law on the Formation of National Islamic Councils 1/9/1361 [22 November 1982]
Article 1: To advance rapidly social, economic, developmental, health, cultural, educational, and other welfare affairs through cooperation with the people and to supervise the administration of the affairs of every village, ward, neighborhood, city, province and county, a council known as the Islamic Council of the village, ward, neighborhood, city, province, and county and the Supreme County Council shall be organized based on this law’s regulations.
Article 2: The elections to the councils shall be under the supervision of the Ministry of the Interior.
Note 1: Village Council elections shall be held through the Jihad for Reconstruction under the supervision of the Ministry of the Interior. The relevant bylaws shall be written by these two institutions.
Note 2: The Ministry of the Interior is required to draft a legal bill for the election of councils within at most the space of two months after this law’s approval and present it to the Islamic Consultative Assembly in accordance with Article 74 of the Constitution.
Note 3: The authorities are required have the instructions communicated to the members of the electoral boards at least ten days prior to the elections.
Article 3: The councils shall be valid for two years.
Article 4: The first elections of the council’s term shall be held two months after the electoral bylaws are approved. Subsequent elections must be held one month before the council’s term ends.
Article 5: A member or members replacing those council members who are elected as members in higher councils or who are outside of membership in the council shall be elected from among the people of that same area.
Article 6: Should the number of people designated as members in any of the aforementioned councils be greater than the limit assigned, the members needed shall be chosen from amongst themselves.
Article 7: No one may be a member in more than one council.
Article 8: Council meetings shall have a quorum of two thirds of their total membership. Decisions shall be recognized with an absolute majority of the votes of those present.
Article 9: The council’s first meeting shall be held within a space of one week after the elections are concluded at the invitation of the national officials of the boards or their official representatives, chaired by the eldest member. A chair, a vice-chair, and two secretaries shall be elected from amongst them.
Article 10: All the councils’ internal bylaws shall be written by the provinces’ Supreme Council. They shall be implemented after being approved by the Ministry of the Interior.
Note: Until the internal bylaws are approved, each council is required pose its own temporary bylaws in order to administer affairs and pass them with a two-thirds vote.
Article 11: That group of government employees who enter into membership of a council and are needed full-time may perform their duties as an officer serving the councils.
Article 12: Councils are responsible within the limits of their duties and authority before higher councils.
Note: The Islamic Consultative Assembly serves as the superior to the provinces’ Supreme Council.
Article 13: Should any of the councils not be organized, its superior council may perform its legal duties.
Article 14: Provincial, county, and ward governors as well as other national authorities who are appointed by the government are, in accordance with Article 130 of the Constitution, required to observe their decisions within the limit of the shoras’ authority.
Article 15: Provincial, county, and ward governors as well as other national authorities have the right to participate in the sessions of the councils of their sphere of authority. Should the relevant councils consider it necessary, they may require their presence.
Note: The Friday Imam of any area may participate in a relevant council as an observer.
Article 16: Should provincial, county, and ward governors object to councils’ expressed decisions, they may express their view within a space of a week from the date it was stated and request a review. Should the aforementioned council not alter its view, the objector may make a final appeal to the superior council. This council’s view is final and must be implemented. The implementation of positions it approved but over which there are differences shall be suspended until the final view is issued.
Article 17: Councils have legal personhood. They have the right to file a claim against both legal and actual persons and may defend themselves against claims against the council.
Article 18: Councils may request the necessary information in reference to their duties from bureaucracies and organizations connected with the government. They in turn are required to put the necessary information at their disposal.
Duties and Powers
Article 19: General duties and authority:
1. Review and identification of shortcomings, needs, and inadequacies in social, economic, developmental, health, cultural, educational and other welfare matters in the electoral sphere and preparing solutions to the responsible authorities.
2. Preparing reform plans and suggestions in social matters and presenting them for the sake of information and planning to the aforementioned councils and for the sake of taking possible measures to the responsible authorities.
3. Careful supervision over the administration of the affairs of the electoral districts and precise implementation of the council’s decisions, the country’s laws, and the approved plans.
4. Presenting the necessary suggestions for improving government organizations and revolutionary organs with the aforementioned [superior] council.
5. Pursuing the people’s complaints in the event of weak points in organizations and bureaucracies in the relevant spheres through the responsible authorities.
6. Planning and taking measures for the sake of public participation in executing social, economic, developmental, health, cultural, educational, and other social welfare in accordance and cooperation with the relevant authorities.
7. Creating an atmosphere of cooperation of the people with national authorities for the sake of continuing the Islamic Revolution.
8. Reviewing recommended programs of administrative organs in social, economic, developmental, health, cultural, educational, and other social welfare fields with the perspective of having them conform to the necessary requirements of the council’s electoral districts, and preventing discrimination in this regard between various regions, and reporting weaknesses to the superior councils and the relevant executive authorities.
9. Supervising the complete coordinated execution of the plans approved in administrative organs in social, economic, developmental, health, cultural, educational, and other social welfare fields.
10. Councils may, in accordance with the request of those responsible, take charge of some executive activities, such as distributing public fuel and provisions and taking censuses and local investigations.
11. Every council is required to nominate an individual, elected by an absolute majority of the votes, for the superior council at most a week after being recognized.
12. Councils are obliged to hand a copy of their approved decisions each to the superior council and the responsible officials.
13. Each council is required to communicate, by available means, to the people its decisions on important matters and those concerning the public.
14. Cooperation with national organs.
15. Presenting the necessary reports, presenting criticisms, and discussing difficulties regarding local events and activities to a representative or representatives of that region in the National Consultative Assembly.
16. Councils, in coordination with responsible executive organs, may participate, along with public, in organizing the social, relief, educational agencies and in establishing cooperative production institutions and NGOs for social, take measures to organize social, aid, and guidance associations and institutions and found productive, distributive, and consumers cooperatives with the people’s participation in their regions of activity.
17. Councils are required to present a report of their annual activities during the last session of each year. After confirming it, it is to be published for the public’s information.
18. Appointment and dismissal of the mayor.
Article 20: Councils are responsible for protecting and administering the council’s transferable and untransferable properties. Similarly, they will take measures in accordance with regulations in the matter of buying and selling and transferring and renting the council’s properties.
Article 21: In order to investigate violations or deviations by the councils mentioned in this law, should it be necessary to dissolve them, a commission composed of the following shall be formed in the capital of each of the country’s provinces:
1. A representative of the Supreme Judicial Council
2. A representative of the Ministry of the Interior
3. A representative of the Supreme Council of the Provinces
Note 1: The above commission may form an auxiliary investigative branch in the center of the province’s townships, but the final decision belongs to the provincial commission.
Note 2: Should there be an objection to the opinion issued by the aforementioned commission, the dissolved commission may complain to the appropriate judicial centers for an appeal.
Note 3: Should there be an objection, the dissolved council may, in accordance with Article 106 of the Constitution, complain to the appropriate court. (The maximum deadline for an objection shall be five days.) The aforementioned court is required to investigate this as a priority.
Note 4: Officials of the Ministry of the Interior are required to hold elections for a new council within the space of at most one month after the final dissolution of each council except in cases in which there are fewer than six months remaining until the end of its term.
Note 5: Resigned members of councils and members of dissolved councils shall not have the right to return to a lower council unless they are re-elected.
Note 6: Denial of membership to council members based on violation of legal duties shall be based on the suggestion of three fourths of the total membership and with the agreement of the appropriate courts.
Note 7: Each council member who is denied membership through the decision of an appropriate court shall be deprived of being elected in subsequent terms of that council.
Article 22: The council’s budget (after it is apportioned) shall be secured through zakat and local sources of income and, should it be necessary, through taxes which shall be levied on services rendered. Shortages shall be made up through government aid upon the request of the Supreme
Provincial Councils from the public income.
Article 23: Conditions for the electors:
a. Minimum age: Fifteen full years.
b. Residence in an area: At least one year.
Note: The condition for residence in an area for tribes, hunters, etc., in accordance with the country’s divisions shall be in accordance with local customs.
Article 24: Condition for electees:
a. Minimum age: 22.
b. Residence in an area: At least one full year.
c. Believe and practical commitment to Islam and the expression of faithfulness to the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Constitution.
Note: In regions in which recognized religious minorities form the majority, it suffices that they be loyal to the Constitution.
d. Having no tendency towards parties, organizations, or groups which are illegal or based upon eclectic or ungodly beliefs.
e. Among equally-qualified candidates, preference shall be given to those who can read and write.
f. Acquaintance with social issues and being honest and trustworthy.
g. No connection with the previous regime, including village chiefs and members of the municipal council.
h. No ill-repute for moral depravity.
Note: A change in the conditions mentioned in clauses c, d, or e, as determined by appropriate courts, shall result in a loss of membership.
Article 25: Members of the council of any village shall be elected directly by the people. The number of its members shall be five or seven.
Article 26: Duties and authority:
1. Supervision and cooperation with executive authorities and revolutionary institutions in social, developmental, and economic affairs, such as preparing and organizing a village’s records including its population figures (of its residents) and figures on resources (on agriculture and animal husbandry, services and industries, etc.)
2. Overseeing the execution of the village’s health and sanitary regulations and preparing appropriate grounds for securing environmental preservation and protection.
3. Efforts towards reviving and dredging qanats and abandoned canals.
4. Cooperation and coordination in matters related to preventing the exhaustion of the soil and protecting and developing agricultural fields, orchards, pastures, forests, public resources, and byways and country roads and presenting plans and suggestions in these regards to the District Council.
5. Encouraging the people of the village to create handcrafts and develop rural industries.
6. Encouraging the people to preserve and found [sic] abandoned mosques, takiyehs, and shrines and the protection of historical sites.
7. Organize classes to help educate the people in literacy.
8. The supervision and pursuit of implementing developmental projects.
9. Cooperation and coordination with the Ministry of Agriculture and organs which are active in connection with the rural and creating and supervising needed cooperatives.
Article 27: The council of each district shall be composed of the district’s center and the villages which are in its vicinity.
Note: The election of a District Islamic Council shall take place within a space of at most fifteen days after the conclusion of the elections in the district’s Village and Central Islamic Councils.
Article 28: The number of members of a District Islamic Council shall be seven.
Article 29: Duties and authority:
1. Preparing and organizing developmental programs each year within the district’s boundaries and recommending them to the Township Council with the budget set by public funds which the council had set aside for that district.
2. Performing the necessary review and measures to organize cooperative companies in order to spread and develop agriculture and rural industry.
3. Founding public libraries and reading rooms by inviting the cooperation of the people and the relevant organizations.
4. Making the necessary suggestions in order to secure connections for local communication and facilitate postal services.
5. Concentrate on a geographical and historical documentation of the villages and cooperation with organizations which are active in these fields.
6. Creating the necessary conditions for the protection and development of agricultural lands, fields, public resources, and country roads.
7. The supervision and pursuit of implementing developmental projects.
8. Efforts for creating cooperatives and supervising them.
Neighborhood Islamic Councils (Community Islamic Councils)
Article 30: The smallest unit of councils is the Islamic Neighborhood Council. Each city’s neighborhood boundaries follow the divisions of the relevant municipality.
Article 31: Neighborhood Islamic Councils are composed of seven people. They are formed through official elections and the people’s direct vote.
Regional Islamic Councils
Article 32: Each region’s Islamic Council is composed of representatives of Neighborhood Councils elected by the council members themselves.
Note 1: The number of members of the Islamic Regional Council shall be at most seven.
Note 2: Cities which have fewer than seven regions shall not have regional councils organized in them.
Article 33: Elections for Islamic Regional Councils must be held at most fifteen days after the formation of the Islamic Neighborhood Councils.
Islamic City Councils
Article 34: In every city, a council called the Islamic City Council shall be organized from among the elected representatives of the Islamic Regional Councils at most fifteen days after the conclusion of the Islamic Regional Council elections. The number of members of this council shall be five.
Note 1: In regions in which an Islamic Regional Council has not been organized (as per Note 2 of Article 32), the members of the City Council shall be elected from among the representatives of the Neighborhood [Council].
Note 2: Should the number of neighborhoods of a city be less than seven or should it not have official neighborhood divisions, the members of the City Council shall be determined through direct election.
Article 35: Duties and jurisdiction:
1. When the projected income is inadequate, city councils may, with the influence of the vali amr [religious authority], set a tax appropriate to local economic resources and services rendered to secure municipal funds.
2. Supervision to provide good administration and protect the municipality’s capital and property, both cash and in kind, and portable and non-portable, as well as supervise its income and treasury.
3. Supervise the implementation of municipal duties in relation to the health of the city and its vicinity and the foundations which are administered by the municipality.
4. Ratifying bylaws recommended by the municipality.
5. Ratifying and determining the rate of rent and means of transportation in the city.
6. Ratifying regulations for the city’s water and leasing waters which are necessary for the city’s consumption and preventing the abuse of the city’s resources.
Township Islamic Councils
Article 36: Township Islamic Councils shall be composed of representatives elected by the city council and district councils at most fifteen days after the conclusion of the city and district elections as follows: the city council and every district shall elect one of its members to participate in the Township Council.
Note: Should the population of the city be greater than three hundred thousand, for each two hundred thousand additional people, one additional representative shall be in the City Council.
Article 37: The number of members in the Township Council shall be at least five.
Note: Should the township have fewer than four districts, the remaining members up to five shall be elected for the Township Council from among the City’s or Districts’ Council, in accordance with their population through elected representatives of the city council and the districts.
Article 38: Duties and jurisdiction:
1. Reviewing and ratifying proposed developmental programs, within the budget set by the appropriated public funds, with due concern for priorities.
Note 1: Priorities shall be determined on the basis of the needs of each region.
Note 2: All other things being equal, priority shall be given to the area which receives the greater percent of the plan’s budget.
2. The Township Council is required to communicate the weaknesses and difficulties of institutions and organizations to the relevant authorities. Should the authorities ignore their request, the councils should request of the higher authorities they be reprimanded or dismissed while mentioning the instances of violations and ineffectiveness.
Provincial Islamic Council
Article 39: The Provincial Council shall be formed and convened at most two weeks after the Islamic Township Councils’ election conclude. There shall be one representative in it for each township.
Note: The minimum number of representatives of the provincial council shall be three. In provinces in which this limit cannot be reached because there are too few townships the defect in the Provincial Islamic Council members shall be made up from among the members of the Township Islamic Council of the province’s center.
Article 40: Duties and jurisdiction:
1. The Provincial Council is required to review the plans and recommendations suggested by each township’s council, discuss them, set priorities, and refer them to the responsible authorities.
2. Investigate and express opinions concerning developmental plans, and the needs of the townships within the province; and send them to the relevant authorities.
3. Membership in the province’s Planning Committee with the right to one vote.
4. The Provincial Council supervises the province’s budget’s expenditure. Contractors and executors of developmental projects and plans must be supported by the Provincial Council.
5. Members of the Provincial Council shall be a contact between their own council and subordinate council below them.
Supreme Islamic Council of the Provinces
Article 41: The Supreme Islamic Council of the Provinces shall be composed of elected representatives of the Provincial Islamic Councils. Each Provincial Islamic Council shall have one representative on it.
Article 42: The Supreme Islamic Council of the Provinces shall be formed at most two weeks after the the provincial elections end.
Article 43: The first session of the Supreme Islamic Council of the Provinces shall be convened by the Minister of the Interior and presided over by the oldest member present in the session. One president, one vice president, and two secretaries shall be selected among the members by secret ballot.
Article 44: The Supreme Islamic Council of the Provinces has the duty of drafting the councils’ internal bylaws within a space of three months from the date it was organized. After it is approved, it shall be communicated to all councils for implementation.
Article 45: The Supreme Islamic Council of the Provinces is required to review, and make subject to deliberation the plans and recommendations suggested by the councils, determine priorities, and refer them to the executive authorities.
Article 46: The Supreme Islamic Council of the Provinces is required to communicate the weaknesses and problems of the executive institutions and organizations to the relevant authorities.
Article 47: The Supreme Islamic Council of the Provinces is required to review the productive, industrial, agricultural, educational, administrative, service, etc. plans in order to prevent discrimination, encourage cooperation, and coordinate between provinces. Should it uphold them, they shall be presented to the Islamic Consultative Assembly as legal plans.
Article 48: The Supreme Islamic Council of the Provinces shall participate in organizing the developmental projects and plan budgets for developmental projects of the provinces.
Article 49: The Supreme Islamic Council of the Provinces may, to prevent discrimination, encourage cooperation and create harmony between the provinces, and suggest a change in plans or a shift in the developmental budget of provinces within the framework of the relevant regulations.
Article 50: The Supreme Islamic Council of the Provinces shall supervise the execution of developmental programs and budgets. The relevant institutions are required to communicate to the Supreme Council through monthly and annual reports regarding their funds for the advancement of their developmental projects.
Article 51: The Supreme Islamic Council of the Provinces has, within the framework of the law, the right to draft plans and present them to the Islamic Consultative Assembly. A representative of the Supreme Islamic Council of the Provinces has the right to be present in the Assembly and defend his plan.
Article 52: Members of the Supreme Islamic Council of the Provinces shall be a contact between their council and the councils below them.
Article 53: From the date this law is approved, all conflicting laws shall be null and void.
The above law, containing fifty-three articles and twenty-six notes, was approved in the session of Monday, the first of Azar, one thousand three hundred and sixty-one [22 November 1982] of the Islamic Consultative Assembly. It was ratified by the Guardian Council on the date of the ninth of Azar, one thousand three hundred and sixty-one [30 November 1982].
President of the Islamic Consultative Assembly, [Ali-]Akbar Hashemi[-Rafsanjani]