It is hereby declared that, it is for the learned doctors of theology (the ulema)… to determine whether such laws as may be proposed are or are not conformable to the rules of Islam; and it is therefore officially enacted that there shall at all times exist a committee composed of not less than five jujahids or other devout theologians, so that they may carefully discuss and consider all matters proposed in the Assembly, and reject and repudiate, wholly or in part, any such proposal which is at variance with the sacred laws of Islam, so that it shall not obtain the title of legality.
—Article 2 of 1907 Supplement of the Iranian Constitution
Edited by: John T. Ishiyama , Marijke Breuning. 21st Century Political Science: A Reference Handbook. Page 571. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, Inc., 2011. Print.
Editor’s Note 1: Iran’s 1906 constitution was modeled on the Belgium constitution which triggered infighting between secularists and those who wanted sharia law codified in a modern legal system. As these debates intensified inside Iran becoming increasingly violent, Germany was becoming a rising power in the region. To settle the German threat, Russia and Britain divided Iran into zones of influence that would secure the country from German influence. Shortly following this agreement, the Anglo-Russian Entente, the clergy were empowered to vet legislation to conform to sharia law and resist western pressures and meddling. The work of the committee however was soon interrupted by the civil war that broke out in 1908 when the Iranian king bombed the parliament building. Years later, the Islamic Republic of Iran established a similar check on parliament called, the Council of Guardians consisting of 6 religious judges and 6 secular judges to determine the religious integrity of the law. This council establishes Iran’s present-day judicial review, yet is ultimately checked by the absolute authority of the Supreme Leader which combines the position of the highest cleric within the shia Islamic faith and that of the government into one person.