The President of Iran (Persian: رییسجمهور ایران Rayis Jomhur-e Irān) is the head of government of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The President is the highest popularly elected official in Iran (however, the President is still required to gain the Supreme Leader's official approval before being sworn in before the Parliament and the Leader also has the power to dismiss the elected President anytime). The President carries out the decrees, and answers to the Supreme Leader of Iran, who functions as the country's head of state. Unlike the executive in other countries, the President of Iran does not have full control over anything, as these are ultimately under the control of the Supreme Leader. Chapter IX of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran sets forth the qualifications for presidential candidates. The procedures for presidential election and all other elections in Iran are outlined by the Supreme Leader. The President functions as the executive of the decrees and wishes of the Supreme Leader. These include signing treaties and other agreements with foreign countries and international organizations, with Supreme Leader's approval; administering national planning, budget, and state employment affairs, as decreed by the Supreme Leader. The President also appoints the ministers, subject to the approval of Parliament, and the Supreme Leader who can dismiss or reinstate any of the ministers at any time, regardless of the president or parliament's decision. The Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei directly chooses the ministries of Defense, Intelligence and Foreign Affairs, as well as certain other ministries, such as the Science Ministry. Iran’s regional policy is directly controlled by the office of the Supreme Leader with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ task limited to protocol and ceremonial occasions. All of Iran’s ambassadors to Arab countries, for example, are chosen by the Quds Corps, which directly reports to the Supreme Leader.
As such, the current long-time Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, ruling Iran for nearly three decades, has been issuing decrees and making final decisions on economy, environment, foreign policy, national planning, and almost everything else in the country. Khamenei has also made final decisions on the degree of transparency in elections in Iran, and has fired and reinstated Presidential cabinet appointments.
The President of Iran is elected for a four-year term by direct vote and not permitted to run for a third term or serve for more than 8 years in the office.
The 1979 Constitution designated the Supreme Leader of Iran as the head of state and the President and Prime Minister as the heads of government. The post of Prime Minister was abolished in 1989.
The first Iranian presidential election was held on January 25, 1980 and resulted in the election of Abulhassan Banisadr with 76% of the votes. Banisadr was impeached on June 22, 1981 by Parliament. Until the early election on July 24, 1981, the duties of the President were undertaken by the Provisional Presidential Council. Mohammad-Ali Rajai was elected President on July 24, 1981 and took office on August 2. Rajai was in office for less than one month because he and his prime minister were both assassinated. Once again a Provisional Presidential Council filled the office until October 13, 1981 when Ali Khamenei was elected president.
The election on August 3, 2005 resulted in a victory for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The election on June 12, 2009 was reported by government authorities as a victory for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the incumbent candidate, although this is greatly disputed by supporters of rival candidates, who noted the statistical anomalies in voting reports and large-scale overvoting in the officially announced tallies.