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Supreme Cultural Revolution Council (SCRC)

The Supreme Cultural Revolution Council (SCRC, also known as the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution), a conservative-dominated body based in Qom, was set up at the time of Ayatollah Khomeini. Its decisions can only be overruled by Iran's Supreme Leader. Most of its members were appointed by Ayatollah Khamenei, Khomeini's successor. Reformist President Mohammad Khatami was the chairman, but conservatives outnumbered reformists on the council. The President of Iran is designated the chairman of the Council. The Supreme Cultural Revolution Council that was formed in December 1984 was in fact continuation of the Cultural Revolution Headquarters.

This council debates and approves its own relevant issues. The Imam used to say that such approved issues must be regarded as laws. He did not mean that the SCRC was a legislative organ. However, its ratified bills are valid as approved laws. In accordance with the instructions of the late Imam Ayatollah Khomeini, one must not overrule the approved issues of this council.

The headquarters took shape on 12 June 1980 and following a decree by Imam Khomeini the council was charged to take measures in planning for various courses and for the cultural policy of the universities in future on the basis of Islamic culture and through selection of efficient, committed and vigilant professors and for other issues relevant to the Islamic academic revolution.

The Cultural Revolution Headquarters failed to make universities ready for building the future. The headquarters deleted certain courses such as music as "fake knowledge." Committees established after the 1979 Revolution came to similar conclusions concerning all subjects in the humanities such as law, political sciences, economy, psychology, education and sociology.

The SCRC was formed in December 1984 and substituted the Cultural Revolution Headquarters. In fact, the formation of such an institution was not stipulated in the Constitution. It was formed under the special circumstances that were prevailing in the early stages of the revolution. The council took its legitimacy from the 9 December 1984 decree of the founder of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Khomeini.

Following the formation of the SCRC, it declared itself the highest body for making policies and decisions in connection with cultural, educational and research activities within the framework of the general policies of the system and considered its approvals indispensable. In fact, the group of 7 (in 1980-83, and then 17 in 1984, and expanded to 36 in 1999) was expected to compile all the cultural policies of the country.

The SCRC blocked the way to the emergence of the student movement in 1983-1989 period by banning many books and purging thousands of students and lecturers. Through selection of applicants who wished to enter universities and by the formation of institutions inside universities, the council took control of the affairs of all university students.

In 1996 Hojjateslam Mohammad Khatami was appointed as a member of High Council for Cultural Revolution by the Supreme Leader of Iran. As President he was the head of the council.

In October 2001 the SCRC ordered all private Internet access companies under state control. The order was never implemented, but parliament considered legislation that would require Internet providers to block access to adult sites and others.

On 10 June 2003, judiciary spokesman Gholam Hoseyn Elham explained that a lack of adequate, government-imposed filtering would "pollute the climate" of Internet sites so that those seeking information would be put off from using the sites. They would thus be deprived of their natural rights to gain knowledge. Elham explained that an advisory committee of the SCRC would take charge of filtering. Elham listed more than 20 matters that would likely be filtered, including "the dissemination of blasphemous items; ...insulting Islam and Islamic sanctities; opposing the constitution and publishing any item that might undermine the independence and the territorial integrity of the country; insulting the leader [Ayatollah Khamenei] and the sources of emulation [leading clerics]; ...[distorting] the values of the Islamic revolution and the principles of the political thought of Imam Khomeini; undermining national unity and solidarity; creating pessimism and hopelessness among the people regarding the legitimacy and effectiveness of the [Islamic] system; providing publicity for illegal groups and political parties; ...propagating prostitution and forbidden acts; publishing pictures and photographs that are contrary to public morality; ... providing publicity for smoking cigarettes and the taking of narcotics; ...making false accusations against any of the officials or ordinary members of the society; insulting individuals or organizations; and creating any unidentified radio or television network and program without the supervision of the Voice and Vision Organization [radio and television]."

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 02:46:26 ZULU