Combatant Clergy Association

The Combatant Clergy Association (Persian: جامعۀ روحانیت مبارز‎, romanizedjâmeʿe-ye rowhâniyat-e mobârez) is a politically active group in Iran, but not a political party in the traditional sense.

Combatant Clergy Association
General SecretaryMostafa Pourmohammadi
SpokespersonGholamreza Mesbahi-Moghadam
Founded1977; 43 years ago (1977)
HeadquartersTehran, Iran
Religious conservatism
Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist
Political positionRight-wing[1]
5th Assembly of Experts
66 / 88 (75%)
Official website

It has never been registered as a political party, however it acts as a fragmented caucus and has actively operated in the electoral arena, competing for votes. Thus, it is considered an elite party and can be classified as a political party according to the minimalist definition by Angelo Panebianco. The traditional conservative clerical association was the majority party in the fourth and fifth parliaments after the Islamic revolution.[2]

The organization has great influence over non-elective institutions such as the Judicial system, the Guardian Council and Revolutionary Guard Corps.[1]


After the 15 Khordad demonstration failed in Iran, it was felt that a coherence organization was needed.[3] The association was founded in 1977 by a group of clerics with intentions to use Islamic culture and traditions to overthrow the Shah. Although the exact founding members of the group are unsure, some of them were said to be Ali Khamenei, Morteza Motahhari, Mohammad Beheshti, Mohammad Javad Bahonar, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Fazlollah Mahallati, and Mohammad Mofatteh,[4] and its current members include founding member Ali Khamenei.[5]

The Combatant Clergy Association was one of the few republican groups active before the Iran–Iraq War. A "free political atmosphere" was not provided in Iran due to the special conditions of wartime, and the Combatant Clergy Association was the only active political organisation after the dissolution of the Islamic Republican Party (All IRP clerics were members of CCA but not all CCA founders were members of IRP).[2] By the emergence of factional differences in government of Mir Hossein Mousavi, the organization was divided, and Association of Combatant Clerics was formed.[6]

Recent yearsEdit

CCA is suffering from unresolved contention between its elites. Hassan Rouhani, president of Iran since 2013, is a member of the faction although he has been inactive and not participated their regular sessions since the disputed 2009 presidential elections, a situation that applies to Ali Akbar Nategh-Nouri and Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani as well.[2][7] The association however backed Rafsanjani and Rouhani in 2016 Assembly of Experts election and included both on its list,[8] despite backing Rouhani's rival, Ebrahim Raisi, for president in 2017.[9]

Goals and activitiesEdit

The association brought together anti-Shah clerics and bazaaris.[10] It also aimed to preserve the revolution and its achievements. Supporting the Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist and state organization are some of the group's goals. The association does not recognize itself as a political party and hence does not have any written strategy or policy. The association mostly announces its political viewpoints around election time.[4]

Members of the association have had important positions in the different governments of Iran. By 2004, four out of eight presidents of the executive branch of the government had been selected from this association. Also, the president of the judicial branch of the government was one the members of the association, Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, for two five-year periods, from 1989 to 1999.[4]

Foreign policyEdit

The association believes in making diplomatic relationships with all the world countries except United States and Israel, and their criteria in this regard is avoiding both being dominated by other countries and domination over others. However, they believe that there can be relationships with France and England under defined conditions. The association believes that there is an intrinsic differences between the value system of Iran and western societies.[11]

Financial sourcesEdit

The fourth chapter of the Combatant Clergy Association's statute deals with the financial issues of the association. The association has no financial source such as factories or businesses.[11]

Election resultsEdit

Assembly of ExpertsEdit

Election Seats won +/− Ref
69 / 86 (80%)
69 / 86 (80%)
66 / 88 (75%)
  3 [14]

List of General SecretariesEdit

# Name Tenure Ref
1 Fazlollah Mahallati 1977–31 October 1981 [15]
2 Mohammad Reza Mahdavi Kani 1 November 1981 – 21 October 2014 [15]
Mohammed Emami-Kashani (interim) 1996 [15]
3 Ali Movahedi-Kermani 2 December 2014 – 30 May 2018 [15]
4 Mostafa Pourmohammadi 30 May 2018–present [15]


  1. ^ a b Asayesh, Hossein; Halim, Adlina Ab.; Jawan, Jayum A.; Shojaei, Seyedeh Nosrat (March 2011). "Political Party in Islamic Republic of Iran: A Review". Journal of Politics and Law. Canadian Center of Science and Education. 4 (1): 221–230. ISSN 1913-9047.
  2. ^ a b c Mohammadighalehtaki, Ariabarzan (2012). Organisational Change in Political Parties in Iran after the Islamic Revolution of 1979. With Special Reference to the Islamic Republic Party (IRP) and the Islamic Iran Participation Front Party (Mosharekat) (Ph.D. thesis). Durham University. p. 175–177.
  3. ^ Staff writers. "Combatant Clergy Association; An Organization which was formed by Political Motivations" (in Persian). Young Journalists Club. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  4. ^ a b c Staff writers (2004). "Performance history and strategies of Combatant Clergy Association (Part 1)". Hawzeh Pegah (in Persian) (135). Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  5. ^ "ایسنا - پیام تبریک جامعه مدرسین به مردم و حسن روحانی". Isna. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
  6. ^ Haddad Adel, Gholamali; Elmi, Mohammad Jafar; Taromi-Rad, Hassan (2012-08-31). Political Parties: Selected Entries from Encyclopaedia of the World of Islam. EWI Press. ISBN 9781908433022. Retrieved 17 September 2016.
  7. ^ Mahnaz Malekuti (29 December 2012). "Elections divide cleric coalition in Qom". Rooz Online. Retrieved 20 September 2016 – via The Iran Project.
  8. ^ Arash Karami (23 February 2016). "Why this election of Iran's Assembly of Experts is more important than ever". Al-Monitor. Retrieved 20 September 2016.
  9. ^ "Principlists Shift toward Conservative Candidate Ebrahim Raisi", Iranian Diplomacy, 23 April 2017, retrieved 24 April 2017
  10. ^ Kandil, Hazem (2016-08-15). The Power Triangle: Military, Security, and Politics in Regime Change. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780190239206. Retrieved 18 September 2016.
  11. ^ a b Staff writers (2004). "Performance history and strategies of Combatant Clergy Association (Part 2)". Hawzeh Pegah (in Persian) (136). Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  12. ^ "جریان شناسی ادوار انتخابات مجلس خبرگان" (in Persian). Fars News Agency. 13 January 2016. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  13. ^ "تاثیر حمایت جامعه مدرسین در رای آوری نامزدهای خبرگان/کدام اعضای کنونی نامزد جامعه مدرسین نبودند؟". Khabaronline (in Persian). 1 March 2016. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
  14. ^ "طیف بندی‌های خبرگان پنجم را بشناسید/ 3 منتخب اختصاصی جامعه مدرسین و 16 منتخب اختصاصی خبرگان مردم". Khabaronline (in Persian). 1 March 2016. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
  15. ^ a b c d e "موحدی کرمانی دبیرکل شد" [Movahedi-Kermani became the General Secretary] (in Persian). Iranian Students' News Agency. 3 December 2014. 93091207754. Retrieved 25 June 2016.