Document Type : Original Article
- Assistant Professor of Political Geography, Tehran University,Tehran, Iran
- Ph.D Student of Political Geography, Tehran University,Tehran, Iran
Studying the constitutions of countries is considered as one of the major subjects of political geography as governments need to develop and enforce constitution to govern their people in a given territory. Every “constitution”, by appropriately use of the concepts, facilitates the processes of institutionalization, policy-making and legislation as the bases of government. Therefore, some researchers believe that codification of the constitutions is the peak of theoretical and strategic evolution of national (modern) government, because by approving this law, society delegates “authority” and “power” of defining and establishing order to a superior authority, i.e. the “government”. Codification of every constitution follows special condition, such as establishment of a new country after collapse, changing political system after revolution or coup d’état, and special socio-political shifts in a society. In this regard, revolution in every country is one of the most influential factors in codifying constitutions. In the past century, Iran has experienced two major revolutions: “the constitutional revolution” in 1285 and the “Islamic revolution” in 1357. The main achievement of the constitutional revolution was “constitution” and its “amendment” through which Iran, for the first time, gained “national accord document” based on people’s votes, social thought, and organized thinking. The main achievement of the Islamic revolution was developing the constitution of Islamic Republic of Iran. However, codifying both constitutions as the outcomes of two revolutions was done based on the socio-spatial situation of the country in two specific times. Hence, the basic concepts of political geography such as “territory” and “territoriality” involve a specific area in each of the constitutions. The present study is intended to expand the literature of political geography of Iran by comparative study of the two concepts of “territory” and “territoriality” in the constitutions of the constitutional revolution and Islamic Republic of Iran.
Descriptive- analytic method is used to compare the two concepts of “territory” and “territoriality” in the “constitution of the constitutional revolution” and the “constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The data gathering procedure is based on library findings.
Results and discussion
In political geography, “territory” is one of the major elements of a country which refers to a bounded geographical area in which power is exerted and is governed by a powerful actor called “government”. However, this basic concept might be defined differently in different countries and governments according to their constitution. This can be clearly observed in the constitutions of the constitutional revolution and Islamic Republic of Iran. The given territory in the constitution of constitutional revolution and its amendment was considered as merely a “national territory”, i.e. a space with certain boundary in national governance. Therefore, from the perspective of political geography, one characteristic of this constitution is being “territory-oriented”. But the concept of “territory” in the constitution of Islamic Republic of Iran not only covers “national territory” with specified boundaries and limits, but also involves a more expansive and unbounded area, equivalent to the “concept of Ummah”. Accordingly, those principles of the constitution of Iran which refer to the concept of “territory” can be divided into two groups: the first group is the articles which refer to “territory with specified boundaries” under complete governance of the Islamic Republic of Iran, or articles defined within the framework of national territory. The second group is articles in which the concept of “territory” is not considered based on definitions offered in political geography. As, in these articles “territory” lack a specified boundary where complete governance cannot be exerted by Iran. In other words, in these articles the concept of “territory” is synonym with “Ummah” and “beyond the official boundaries of the country”.
In constitution of constitutional revolution, among the aspects of “territoriality”, there is only “political organization of the space” and “territoriality”, and there is no article about “territoriality”. In articles related to political organization of space, the type of government, country divisions, boundaries, etc. are addressed. In contrast, articles related to “territoriality” are mostly concerned with nomination of crown prince and transfer of the reign to him, preserve national territory, declaration of war, peace treaties, and prevention of army inhabitance. In the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the concept of “territoriality” includes the three aspects of “political organization of space”, “territoriality”, and “territorialization”. In this respect, it differs from constitution of constitutional revolution. The articles related to political organization of space address the type of government, three powers, velaiat faghieh, managing affairs through public opinions, elections, councils, country divisions, justly distributing resources, implementation of the constitution, religious minorities, etc. In the context of “territoriality”, the articles discussed deal with sustaining the revolution, protecting boundaries, preventing intrusion of foreigners, enhancing defensive forces, preserving independence, unity and land integrity, preserving economic independence, protecting the environments, changing borderlines, preserving Islamic rules and constitution, preserving national territory, safeguarding the revolution, military training, and meeting national interests. “territorialization” is not mentioned in constitution of constitutional revolution, but it is directly addressed in some articles of the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Its content include Islamic nation, victory of the oppressed in world, Jihad and fight to expand the rule of God in world, freedom and decency of human being, unity of Islamic nations, and the rule of right and justice in the world.
In this study, two basic concepts of political geography, i.e. “territory” and “territoriality” in the constitutions of the constitutional revolution and Islamic Republic of Iran were explored. The study indicates that internal and external factors affected the wherefore of codification of these two constitutions and the use of concept of “territory”. Firstly, comparing the concept of “territory” in these two constitutions revealed that this concept is presented in constitution of constitutional revolution according to definitions offered for it in political geography. There is no article in the constitution of the constitutional revolution and in its amendment about “territory” beyond the scopes of country borderlines. In contrast, in the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, not only there is such a conception of “territory”, but also in some articles like 11, 152, and 154 “territory” is considered the same as “ Ummah” without any boundary. The main reasons for such a basic difference are first, spatial condition of codification of these laws, and second, difference in the views of legislators toward governance. Also, these two constitutions differ from each other with respect to “territoriality” and relevant aspects (political organization of space, territoriality and territoriality). As, the constitution of the constitutional revolution merely deals with the issues of “political organization of space” and “territoriality”; while in the constitution of Islamic Republic of Iran, the issue of “territorialization” is considered besides them. The main reason is the “scholastic” nature of this constitution. Most articles of the constitution of constitutional revolution deal with “political organization of space”, whereas in the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran most articles concern with “territorialization”. This shows the sensitivity of legislators about “preserving territory” which is somewhat due to the experience of the “failure of constitutional revolution”.