The Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution (SCCR; Persian: شورای عالی انقلاب فرهنگی, shoraye a’ali enqelabe farhangi) is a conservative-dominated body based in Qom, 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 Ali Khamenei, Khomeini’s successor.
The President of Iran is ex officio the chairman of the Council. The declared goal of the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution is to ensure that the education and culture of Iran remains “100% Islamic” as Ayatollah Khomeini directed. This includes working against outside “cultural influences” and ideologies.
The Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution is a regime policy body responsible for preparing and formulating strategic policies and plans in the fields of science, education, religion and research.
It promoted several projects undermining the freedom of girls and women, setting limits on their clothing and education. Its decisions have also discriminated against minorities, such as the Baha’i. It is a vehicle for promoting the current regime’s policies.
The Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution is therefore responsible for serious human rights violations in Iran.
Iranian Cultural Revolution
The Cultural Revolution (1980–1983) (in Persian: Enqelābe Farhangi) was a period following the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran where the academia of Iran was purged of Western and non-Islamic influences to bring it in line with Shia Islam. The official name used by the Islamic Republic is “Cultural Revolution.”
Directed by the Cultural Revolutionary Headquarters, the revolution initially closed universities for three years (1980–1983) and after reopening banned many books and purged thousands of students and lecturers from the schools. The cultural revolution involved a certain amount of violence in taking over the university campuses since higher education in Iran at the time was dominated by leftists forces opposed to Ayatollah Khomeini’s vision of theocracy, and they (unsuccessfully) resisted Khomeiniist control at many universities. How many students or faculty were killed is not known.
The process of purification of the education system of foreign influences has not been without sacrifice. In addition to interrupting the education and professional livelihood of many, and initiating a revolutionary intellectual era, it contributed to the emigration of many teachers and technocrats. The loss of job skills and capital has weakened Iran’s economy.
After 2009 Iranian Election Protests
After 2009 Iranian Election Protests Iran’s Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution announced in December 2009 that it had removed opposition leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi from his position as head of the Academy of Arts, apparently at the behest of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Mousavi, a successful artist and architect, had been the head of the academy since it was founded in 1998 and even designed the building that houses it. Mousavi’s removal from his post at the academy has provoked outrage from his colleagues, with 27 of 30 faculty members threatening to resign in solidarity, the faculty members who have sided with Mousavi include his wife, Zahra Rahnavard, celebrated miniaturist Mahmoud Farshchian and renowned film directors Majid Majidi and Dariush Mehrjui.
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.
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.
Person of interests:
Chairman – President of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi – since 3 August 2021
Secretary – Abdol Hossein Khosrow Panah – since 17 January 2023
Main Members of Cultural Revolution Headquarters:
Ruhollah Khomeini – Founder
Ali Khamenei – Founder and Head of the council
Mostafa Moin – Minister of Science
Mohammad-Ali Najafi – Minister of Education
Mohammad Javad Bahonar – Member of council
Ahmad Ahmadi – Member of council
Jalaleddin Farsi – Member of council
Mehdi Golshani – Member of council
Hassan Habibi – Member of council
Ali Shariatmadari – Member of council
Abdolkarim Soroush – Member of council
Hassan Arefi – Member of council
Asadollah Lajevardi – Member of council
Abdol Hossein Khosrow Panah (Secretary)
Saied Reza Ameli
Amir Hossein Bankipour Fard
Hassan Rahimpour Azghadi
Ali Akbar Rashad
Mohammad Hossein Saei
Ebrahim Souzanchi Kashani
Mahmoud Mohammadi Araghi
Mohammad Reza Mokhber Dezfouli
Ex officio Members:
President of Iran – Ebrahim Raisi – (Chairman)
Speaker of the Parliament – Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf (First Deputy of Chairman)
Chief of Justice – Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Eje’i (Second Deputy of Chairman)
Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance – Mohammad Mehdi Esmaili
Ministry of Science, Research and Technology – Mohammad Ali Zolfigol
Ministry of Education – Yousef Nouri
Vice Presidency for Women and Family Affairs – Ensieh Khazali
Council of Cultural-Social of Women and Family – Kobra Khazali
Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting – Peyman Jebelli
Islamic propagation Organization – Mohammad Qomi
Human Rights Violations:
Promoted projects undermining the freedom of girls and women
Human Rights Abuses
Also Known As:
Reason for the color:
» COUNCIL IMPLEMENTING REGULATION (EU) 2022/2428 implementing Regulation (EU) No 359/2011 concerning restrictive measures directed against certain persons, entities and bodies in view of the situation in Iran;