Pictures released from the Iranian cabinet ministers' meetings with Khamenei, often also show little-known men in the back rows in a way as if they are watching the cabinet ministers as observers or rivals. They are Khamenei's own ministers. A hidden government rooted in Khamenei's office, with tentacles extending to almost every government institution.
This complex multi-layer network of special advisers and confidants led by Khamenei's sons are part of his security and supervisory network. In reports released here for the first time, Radio Farda profiles the structure of this network.
According to the Iranian Constitutional Law, The Supreme Leader is the highest ranking official in the Islamic Republic of Iran. He is "the Imam of the Ummah" meaning the spiritual leader of the nation.
His powers include:
- Delineating the general policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran after consultation with the Expediency Discernment Council.
- Supervising the implementation of the general policies of the political system, issuing decrees for national referendum, acting as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
- Declaring war and peace, and the mobilization of the armed forces.
- Appointing, dismissing, and accepting resignations of the fuqaha' (religious scholars) serving on the Guardian Council; the supreme judicial authority of the country; the head of the radio and television network of the Islamic Republic of Iran; the chief of the joint staff of the armed forces; the chief commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and the supreme commanders of the armed forces.
- Resolving differences between the three wings of the armed forces and regulating their relations, resolving problems, which cannot be solved by conventional methods, through the Expediency Discernment Council.
- Endorsing presidential election results, dismissing the President of the Republic, with due regard for the interests of the country, after the Supreme Court holds him guilty of the violation of his constitutional duties, or after a vote of parliament testifying to his incompetence, and pardoning or reducing the sentences of convicts.
The Leader may delegate part of his duties and powers to another person. However, it is the Supreme Leader's Office that maintains his links to the network of military, security, cultural, economic and political institutions via his advisers.
Through this network, Khamenei micromanages all parts of the government. His office also has a cultural and news dissemination office which controls the media. In this way, Khamenei's office plays a far more important role than the presidential administration by intervening in all affairs of the state.
This is what makes it a hidden government which intervenes in every decision of the state from major political and economic policy-making to the implementation of the smallest projects. Khamenei's office also intervenes in the legislative process. During the past two decades, politicians have noted that his family members, particularly his son Mojtaba, have been exercising their influence in the affairs of the state.