October 17, 2006 -- Iran's president, Mahmud Ahmadinejad, has ordered the enforcement of a sweeping ban on public smoking to comply with recent legislation.
The law, approved by parliament in September, forbids smoking in public places and on public transport.
Fines for violating the ban are equivalent to between $5.50 and $11.
Under the law, any kind of advertising, direct or indirect support, or encouragement of smoking is strictly forbidden.
The sale of tobacco products to anyone under 18 can result in the confiscation of a vendor's tobacco products and a cash fine.
The presidential order, issued on October 16 but reported by the official news agency IRNA today, prescribes that the law be fully implemented within three months.
INSIDE THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC: Iran is a theocratic Islamic republic governed under a 1979 constitution that was revised in 1989, when presidential powers were expanded and the prime minister's post was abolished.
Appointed -- not elected -- offices and bodies hold the real power in the government. The supreme leader, who serves as a chief of state would, is appointed for life by an Islamic religious advisory board that is called the Assembly of Experts. The supreme leader oversees the military as well as the judiciary and appoints members of the Guardians Council and the Expediency Council.
The Guardians Council -- some of whose members are appointed by the judiciary and approved by the parliament -- works closely with the government and must approve political candidates and legislation passed by the parliament. The Expediency Council is responsible for resolving legislative disputes that may arise between parliament and the Guardians Council over legislation.
The president, who is popularly elected for a four-year term, serves as the head of government. The legislative branch is made up of a 290-seat body called the Majlis, whose members are elected by popular vote for four-year terms...(more)
RFE/RL's coverage of Iran