The Expediency Discernment Council of the System (EDCS) was established on February 6, 1988 upon the orders of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to overcome the differences of views between the Islamic Consultative Assembly (Majlis) and the Council of Guardians.
Article 112 of the 1989 amended Constitution states:
"The Majma-e- Tashkhis-e- Maslahat-e Nezam (Expediency Discernment Council of the System) shall be convened at the order of the Leader to determine such expedience in cases where the Council of Guardians finds an approval of the Majlis against the principles of Sharia (religious law) or the Constitution, and the Majlis in view of the expedience of the System is unable to satisfy the Council of Guardians, as well as for consultation in matters referred to it by the Leader, and for discharging other functions laid down in this law.
"The permanent and mutable members of this Majma shall be appointed by the Leader."
"Regulations related to the Majma shall be prepared and approved by the members of the Majma itself and ratified by the Leader."
On March 18, 1997, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei appointed 27 new members for five years and Hojjatoleslam Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani as the Chairman of the EDCS thus opening a new window to the functions of the Council.
The functions of the EDCS are as follows:
1. Making decisions in those cases where the ratification of the Islamic Consultative Assembly are not confirmed by the Council of Guardians, and where the deputies insist on the implementation of the ratification's.
2. Consultation in those matters
referred thereto by the Leader.
3. Selection of a faqih (clerical Islamic jurist) member of the Council of Guardians of the Constitution as a member of the Leadership Council, in accordance with Article 111 of the Constitution.
Article 111 states:
"In case the Leader is unable to carry out his legal functions, or loses one of his qualifications mentioned in Article 5 and Article 109, or if it transpires that he did not qualify some of the conditions form the very beginning, he shall be dismissed from his position." Such decision shall be made by the Khobregan (Assembly of Experts) mentioned in Article 108.
"In the case of death, resignation or dismissal of the Leader, the Khobregan shall be required to determine and declare the new Leader at the earliest. As long as the Leader is not declared, a council composed of the President, Head of the Judiciary and one of the Faqihs (jurisconsults) of the Council of Guardians chosen by the Majma-e- Tashkhis-e-Maslahate-e- Nezam shall collectively discharge the functions of the Leader on a temporary basis. If one of them is not able to discharge his duties for any reason whatsoever during this period, another person shall be appointed by the Majma in his place, maintaining the majority of the Faqihs in the council.
"This council shall proceed with the discharge of the duties set out in paragraphs 1, 3, 5 and 10, and sub-paragraphs (d), (e) and (f) of paragraph 6, Article 110 hereof, after approval by three fourths of the members of the Majma-e-Tashkis-e-Maslahat-e- Nezam.
"If the Leader is temporarily unable to discharge the functions of the Leader as a result of sickness or other accidents, the council mentioned in this article shall discharge his functions during such period."
Membership of the permanent members of the EDCS in the Constitutional Revision Council, in accordance with paragraph 3 of Article 177 of the Constitution.
Ratification of the laws passed by the Leadership Council, in accordance with Article 111 of the Constitution.
(Source: Farhango Andisheh Institute, 18, March 1997)
In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate
The Expediency Discernment Council which was formed upon the initiative of the late Imam Khomeini (peace be upon him) and later included as an article in the Constitution of the Islamic Republic thanks to the wisdom and foresight of those revising the Law, is one of the best legal organs established in the Islamic Republic ever since its inception. This is a lasting and blessed institution which was created by the great Leader of the Islamic Republic thanks to his keen sagacity and broader scope of things at a time that the country needed such a Council and with its invention the supreme administrative system of the country was complemented.
According to the Constitution, this Council acts as the trusted advisor of the Leader in shaping the general policies of the System and solving major disputes and differences which occur among the executive, judiciary and legislative powers. Moreover, when the Islamic Consultative Assembly and the Council of Guardians differ on a bill, the Expediency Council steps forward and solves their difference. Therefore, with an eye to the duties and responsibilities of the Expediency Discernment Council prescribed in the Constitution, this Council acts as the highest advisor of the Leader in the Islamic Republic System.
In the past years, the Expediency Discernment Council has rendered valuable services to the nation when there have been differences between the Majlis and the Council of Guardians regarding the Majlis approvals, and has issued appropriate verdicts concerning numerous cases that I have referred to them.
Now that with the widespread participation of the nation in all the political, social and economic arenas and with the endeavors of the officials and administrators of the executive, judiciary and legislative powers, the sacred Islamic Republic System has been firmly established and has found a commendable dignity, it is appropriate for the Expediency Discernment Council to fully discharge its duties and responsibilities and act as a senior advisor to the Leadership. For this reason besides the present members, it would be appropriate to appoint other senior politicians and clerics to enable the Council to discharge its important task in shaping the general policies of the System and to examine all important problems that are normally faced by the country.
Therefore, the new makeup of the Expediency Discernment Council of the System is declared as follows:
1. The legal personalities are:
a. The esteemed heads of the three powers.
b. The prominent jurisconsults of the Council of Guardians.
c. The minister concerned depending on the subject under discussion
2. The real personalities are: Messrs. Hashemi Rafsanjani, Mahdavi Kani , Amini Najafabadi, Vaez Tabasi, Ahmad Jannati, Mohammad Emami Kashani, Hassan Habibi, Mir Hussein Mousavi, Dr. Ali Akbar Velayati, Mohammad Rey Shahri, Haj Sheikh Hassan Sanei, Hassan Rowhani, Mohammad Mousavi Khoeiniha, Habibollah Asqar Owladi, Qorbanali Dorri Najafabadi, Ali Larijani, Mostafa Mirsalim, Mohammad Reza Tavassoli Mahallati, Abdollah Nouri, Morteza Nabavi, Dr. Hassan Firouzabadi, Gholamreza Aqazadeh, Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, Mohammad Hashemi, and Mohsen Nourbakhsh.
All these members have been appointed for a five year period and the head of the Council will be Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani.
The Expediency Discernment Council should have an active and significant secretariat to prepare the cases that are to be discussed in the sessions and to make necessary arrangements. Its head should be from among the members of the council and its liaison officer to be appointed by me, whenever necessary.
The Council is duty bound to draw up, in its early sessions some comprehensive regulations pertaining to the manner of formation of sessions, putting forward and approval of subject matters, as well as other details, and then send the same to me for my approval.
For this eminent institution to be able to discharge its important duties particularly in the matter of general policy making of the country, it should benefit from the latest expertise of the governmental responsible agencies and at the same time must avoid setting up parallel expert groups.
I pray to God the Almighty for the success of these gentlemen in fulfilling their important duties.
Seyed Ali Khamenei
March 18, 1997