The Interim Government of Iran (1979-1980, also Provisional Revolutionary Government) was the first government established in Iran after the Islamic Revolution. This government was headed by Mehdi Bazargan and formed on the order of Ruhollah Khomeini (known as the Ayatollah Khomeini), February 4, 1979, in competition to Shapour Bakhtiar (the Shah's last Prime Minister) who was still claiming power. Mehdi Bazargan was the interim Prime Minister of the interim government and introduced a seven-member cabinet on February 14, 1979.
The Interim Government did not last until a new constitutional government was formed, but resigned after the taking of American embassy officials hostage November 6, 1979, an act the government opposed but revolutionary leader Khomeini supported.
Khomeini announcement came three days after the army's official statement announcing the army's (Bakhtiar's last hope) neutrality in conflicts between Khomeini's and Bakhtiar's supporters. Bakhtiar resigned on the same day, February 11. This day is officially named as Islamic Revolution's Victory Day.
Ayatollah Khomeini appointed Bazargan as the prime minister of "The Provisional Revolutionary Government" on February 4, 1979.
According to his commandment:
"Based on the proposal of the Revolutionary Council and in accordance with the canonical and legal rights which originated from the vote of overwhelming majority of Iranian nation for leadership of the movement which has been represented in the vast gatherings and wide and numerous demonstrations across Iran and because of my utmost trust on your firm belief in the holy tenets of Islam and my knowledge of your precedent in Islamic and national struggles, I appoint you the authority to establish the interim government without consideration of any affiliation to any parties or dependence on any factional groups, for formation of temporary government to arrange organizing of country affairs and especially perform a referendum and refer to public vote of nation about turning the country into Islamic republic and formation of "The Council of the Founders" from the representatives of people to approve of constitution of new regime and to hold elections of representatives of parliament of nation on the basis of the new constitution. It is necessary that you appoint and introduce the members of the temporary government as soon as possible in concordance with the conditions I have clarified. ll public offices, the army, and citizens shall furnish their utmost cooperation with your interim government so as to attain the high and holy goals of this Islamic revolution and to restore order and function to the affairs of the nation. I pray to God for the success of you and your interim government in this sensitive juncture of our nation's history.’’ — Ruhollah Al-Musavi al-Khomeini."
Elaborating further on his decree, Khomeini made it clear Iranians were commanded to obey Bazargan and that this was a religious duty.
As a man who, though the guardianship [Velayat] that I have from the holy lawgiver [the Prophet], I hereby pronounce Bazargan as the Ruler, and since I have appointed him, he must be obeyed. The nation must obey him. This is not an ordinary government. It is a government based on the sharia. Opposing this government means opposing the sharia of Islam ... Revolt against God's government is a revolt against God. Revolt against God is blasphemy.
The PRG is often described as "subordinate" to the Revolutionary Council, and having had difficulties reigning in the numerous komiteh which were competing with its authority
Bazargan reshuffled his cabinet several times because of resignation of ministers that were unable to cope with parallel sources of power. In several cases a ministry was supervised by an acting Minister or Bazargan himself.
List of members of Bazargan's first cabinet was as follows:
The Prime Minister and all members of his cabinet resigned en masse on November 6, 1979 after American Embassy officials were taken hostage two days earlier on November 4, 1979. In his letter to Khomeini, Bazargan stated that "...repeated interferences, inconveniences, objections and disputes have made my colleagues and me unable to continue [meeting] our duties ...".
Power then passed into the hands of the Revolutionary Council. Bazargan had been a supporter of the original revolutionary draft constitution rather than theocracy by Islamic jurist, and his resignation was received by Khomeini without protest, saying "Mr. Bazargan ... was a little tired and preferred to stay on the sidelines for a while." Khomeini later described his appointment of Bazargan as a "mistake."