Interim Government of Iran

Interim Government of Iran
دولت موقت ايران
Dowlat-e Movaghat-e Irân


Allaho Akbar
الله اکبر
"God is the Greatest"
Ey Iran
ای ایران
"Oh Iran"
Ey Iran
Ey Iran Gholamhossein Banan's Version;

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The Interim Government of Iran in 1979.
Capital Tehran
Languages Persian
Religion Shia Islam
Government Provisional Government (as a Transitional government)
Prime Minister
  1979 Mehdi Bazargan
Legislature Council
Historical era Cold War
   End of Iranian Revolution 11 February 1979
   Iranian hostage crisis 4 November 1979
Currency Iranian rial
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Pahlavi dynasty

The Interim Government of Iran (Persian: دولت موقت ايران, Dowlat-e Movaghat-e Irân), was the first government established in Iran after the Iranian Revolution. The government was headed by Mehdi Bazargan, one of the memberes of the Freedom Movement of Iran,[1] and formed on the order of Ruhollah Khomeini (known as the Ayatollah Khomeini) on 4 February 1979. From 4 February to 11 February, Bazargan and Shapour Bakhtiar, the Shah's last Prime Minister, both claimed to be the legitimate prime minister; Bakhtiar fled on 11 February.[2] Mehdi Bazargan was the prime minister of the interim government and introduced a seven-member cabinet on 14 February 1979. Ebrahim Yazdi was elected as the Foreign Minister.[3]

The constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran was adopted by referendum on 24 October 1979. Before it could come into force on 3 December 1979, however, the government resigned on 6 November soon after the taking over of the American embassy,[4] an act the government opposed but revolutionary leader Khomeini supported. The Council of the Islamic Revolution then served as the country's government until the formation of the first Islamic Consultative Assembly on 12 August 1980. Bazargan was elected to the first Islamic Consultative Assembly representing Tehran.[5]

Formation of the interim government

When Ayatollah Khomeini, the leader of the Iranian revolution, came back to Iran after his 15-year exile, he appointed Mehdi Bazargan as the head of the interim government.[6] On 4 February 1979, Ruhollah Khomeini issued a decree appointing Bazargan as the prime minister of "The Provisional Islamic Revolutionary Government".

His decree stated:

"Based on the proposal of the Revolutionary Council and in accordance with the canonical and legal rights which originated from the vote of overwhelming majority of Iranian nation for leadership of the movement which has been represented in the vast gatherings and wide and numerous demonstrations across Iran and because of my utmost trust on your firm belief in the holy tenets of Islam and my knowledge of your precedent in Islamic and national struggles, I appoint you the authority to establish the interim government without consideration of any affiliation to any parties or dependence on any factional groups, for formation of temporary government to arrange organizing of country affairs and especially perform a referendum and refer to public vote of nation about turning the country into Islamic republic and formation of "The Council of the Founders" from the representatives of people to approve of constitution of new regime and to hold elections of representatives of parliament of nation on the basis of the new constitution. It is necessary that you appoint and introduce the members of the temporary government as soon as possible in concordance with the conditions I have clarified. All public offices, the army, and citizens shall furnish their utmost cooperation with your interim government so as to attain the high and holy goals of this Islamic revolution and to restore order and function to the affairs of the nation. I pray to God for the success of you and your interim government in this sensitive juncture of our nation's history.’’ — Ruhollah Al-Musavi al-Khomeini."[7]

Elaborating further on his decree, Khomeini made it clear that Iranians were commanded to obey Bazargan and that this was a religious duty.

As a man who, though the guardianship [Velayat] that I have from the holy lawgiver [the Prophet], I hereby pronounce Bazargan as the Ruler, and since I have appointed him, he must be obeyed. The nation must obey him. This is not an ordinary government. It is a government based on the sharia. Opposing this government means opposing the sharia of Islam ... Revolt against God's government is a revolt against God. Revolt against God is blasphemy.[8]

Khomeini's announcement came days before the army's official statement announcing the army's (Bakhtiar's last hope) neutrality in conflicts between Khomeini's and Bakhtiar's supporters. Bakhtiar fled on the same day, 11 February, the day that is officially named as Islamic Revolution's Victory Day.

The PRG is often described as "subordinate" to the Revolutionary Council, and having had difficulties reigning in the numerous committees which were competing with its authority.[9]

Members of the cabinet

The cabinet was made up of two main factions, moderates and radicals.[10]

Bazargan reshuffled his cabinet several times because of resignation of ministers that were unable to cope with parallel sources of power. In several cases a ministry was supervised by an acting minister or Bazargan himself.

List of members of Bazargan's cabinet was as follows:

Portfolio Minister Tookoffice Leftoffice Party Ref
Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan4 February 19796 November 1979Freedom Movement[11]
Deputy Prime Minister
for Public Relations
and Administration
 Abbas Amir-Entezam13 February 1979August 1979Freedom Movement
 Sadeq TabatabaeiAugust 19796 November 1979Freedom Movement[11]
Deputy Prime Minister
for Revolutionary Affairs
 Ebrahim Yazdi13 February 197912 April 1979Freedom Movement[11]
 Mostafa Chamran12 April 197929 September 1979Freedom Movement
Deputy Prime Minister
for Transitional Affairs
 Hashem Sabbaghian13 February 197920 June 1979Freedom Movement[11]
Minister of Interior Ahmad Sayyed Javadi13 February 197920 June 1979Freedom Movement[11][12]
 Hashem Sabbaghian20 June 19796 November 1979Freedom Movement[11][12]
Minister of Foreign Affairs Karim Sanjabi13 February 19791 April 1979National Front[11]
 Mehdi BazarganA1 April 197912 April 1979Freedom Movement[11]
 Ebrahim Yazdi12 April 197912 November 1979Freedom Movement[11]
Minister of Health Kazem Sami13 February 197929 October 1979JAMA[11][12]
Minister of Agriculture Ali-Mohammad Izadi18 February 19796 November 1979National Front[11]
Minister of Information Nasser Minachi22 February 19796 November 1979Independent[11]
Minister of Energy Abbas Taj18 February 19796 November 1979Association of Engineers[11]
Minister of Post Mohammad Eslami22 February 19796 November 1979Independent[11]
Minister of Finance Ali Ardalan18 February 19796 November 1979National Front[11]
Ministry of Housing Mostafa Katiraei13 February 19796 November 1979Association of Engineers[11]
Minister of Labour Dariush Forouhar13 February 197929 September 1979National Front[11][12]
 Ali EspahbodiA29 September 19796 November 1979Freedom Movement[11][12]
Ministry of Roads Yadollah Taheri13 February 19796 November 1979Association of Engineers[11]
Ministry of Industries Mahmoud Ahmadzadeh18 February 19796 November 1979Freedom Movement[11]
Minister of Culture Ali Shariatmadari22 February 197929 September 1979JAMA[11]
 Hassan HabibiA29 September 19796 November 1979Freedom Movement[11]
Minister of Education Gh. Hossein Shokouhi22 February 197929 September 1979Independent[11]
 Mohammad-Ali RajaeiA29 September 19796 November 1979Freedom Movement[11]
Minister of Justice Assadollah Mobashery18 February 197920 June 1979National Front[11]
 Ahmad Sayyed Javadi20 June 19796 November 1979Freedom Movement[11]
Minister of National Defense Ahmad Madani22 February 19792 March 1979National Front[11][12]
 Taghi Riahi2 March 197918 September 1979National Front[12][13]
 Mostafa Chamran29 September 19796 November 1979Freedom Movement[12]
Minister of Petroleum Ali Akbar Moinfar29 September 19796 November 1979Association of Engineers[11]
Minister without Portfolio
for Revolutionary Projects
 Yadollah Sahabi18 February 19796 November 1979Freedom Movement[11]
Minister without Portfolio
for Plan and Budget
 Ali Akbar Moinfar13 February 197929 September 1979Association of Engineers[11]
 Ezzatollah Sahabi29 September 19796 November 1979Freedom Movement[11]
Minister without Portfolio
for Provincial Inspection
 Dariush Forouhar29 September 19796 November 1979National Front[11]


The Prime Minister and all members of his cabinet resigned en masse on 6 November 1979 after American Embassy officials were taken hostage two days earlier on 4 November 1979. In his letter to Khomeini, Bazargan stated that "...repeated interferences, inconveniences, objections and disputes have made my colleagues and me unable to continue [meeting] our duties ...".

Power then passed into the hands of the Revolutionary Council. Bazargan had been a supporter of the original revolutionary draft constitution rather than theocracy by Islamic jurist, and his resignation was received by Khomeini without protest, saying "Mr. Bazargan ... was a little tired and preferred to stay on the sidelines for a while." Khomeini later described his appointment of Bazargan as a "mistake".[14] Bazargan, on the other hand, described the government as a "knife without blade."[15]

See also


  1. Reza Safa (2006). The Coming Fall of Islam in Iran: Thousands of Muslims Find Christ in the Midst of Persecution. Charisma Media. p. 78.
  2. Mir M.Hosseini. "February, 5, 1979 A.D.: Bazargan Becomes Prime Minister". The Iranian history article. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  3. Samih K. Farsoun, Mehrdad Mashayekhi. Iran: Political Culture in the Islamic Republic. Routledge. p. 173.
  4. Nikou, Semira N. "Timeline of Iran's Political Events". United States Institution of Peace. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  5. Mehdi Noorbaksh. "Mehdi Bazargan's Biography". Cultural Foundation of Mehdi Bazargan. Retrieved 16 July 2016.
  6. Bayram Sinkaya. The Revolutionary Guards in Iranian Politics: Elites and Shifting Relations. Routledge. p. 79.
  7. چرا و چگونه بازرگان به نخست وزیری رسید؟ The commandment of Ayatollah Khomeini for Bazargan and his sermon on 5 February
  8. Khomeini, Sahifeh-ye Nur, vol. 5, p. 31, translated by Baqer Moin in Khomeini (2000), p. 204
  9. Arjomand, Turban for the Crown, (1988) p.135)
  10. Ataie, Mohammad (Summer 2013). "Revolutionary Iran's 1979 endeavor in Lebanon". Middle East Policy. XX (2). doi:10.1111/mepo.12026. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
  11. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 Mohammad Heydari (2008), "اخراجی‌های دولت", Shahrvand Magazine (in Persian) (43)
  12. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "کابینه بازرگان ترمیم شد", Iranian History (in Persian), retrieved 25 November 2016
  13. "تیمسار ریاحی از وزارت دفاع ملی استعفا داد", Iranian History (in Persian), retrieved 25 November 2016
  14. Moin, Khomeini,(2000), p. 222
  15. Lynn Berat (26 May 1995). Between States: Interim Governments in Democratic Transitions. Cambridge University Press. p. 132. ISBN 978-0-521-48498-5. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
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