Since a 1979 revolution led by Ayatollah Khomeini toppled the U.S.-backed regime of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the country has been governed by Shiite Muslim clerics committed to a strict interpretation of Islamic law.Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei serves as commander-in-chief of the armed and police forces; the head of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), the state ministry in control of television and radio; and leader of the country’s judiciary. The Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), currently headed by Said Jalilee, doubles as Iran’s top negotiator on nuclear issues and enjoys close relations with Ayatollah Khamenei, who has final say over all SNSC decisions. The SNSC is composed mostly of top officials from the ministries of foreign affairs, intelligence, and interior, as well as military leaders from the army and the Revolutionary Guards, Iran’s main security apparatus formed in the wake of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. 

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