Presentation on theme: "ISLAM FIVE PILLARS OF ISLAM"— Presentation transcript:
1ISLAM FIVE PILLARS OF ISLAM Declaration of Faith (“There is no God but God [Allah] and Muhammad is his messenger”)Prayer (5 times a day)Alms to the poorPilgrimage to Mecca (once in one’s lifetime)Fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.ISLAM IN A NUTSHELLAccording to Muslims, in A.D. 570 a prophet named Muhammad was born in the city of Mecca in present-day Saudi Arabia. For the first 35 years of his life, Muhammad lived a quiet existence with his wife, Khadija, their children (including a daughter Fatima) and his young cousin Ali and spent his days tending to the family’s caravan trade. One evening while he was meditating in a cave, he was visited by the angel Gabriel who brought the first of several messages from God (Allah) that would later be compiled into the Quran, Islam’s holy book.The Muslims believe that Muhammad was the last in a long string of Prophets that included Abraham, Moses and Jesus. According to Muslims, the Jewish and Christian books (the Torah and Bible) had been corrupted through centuries of translations and political meddling. Muhammad was charged with delivering the final, unadulterated message of God. For that reason, Muslims believe the true word of God can only be taken from a Quran written in the original language of their Prophet, Arabic.In his lifetime, the Prophet attracted many followers throughout Arabia as he recounted Allah’s messages to those who would listen.CALIPHSAfter Muhammad’s death in 632, the Muslim elders elected his companion, Abu Bakr, to succeed him as leader or Caliph of the Muslim community. The election of Abu Bakr over Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law Ali ibn Talib (who had since married Muhammad’s daughter Fatima), was protested by a small group of people who believed that Prophet Muhammad’s successor should be a blood relative.Abu Bakr was succeeded in 634 by Umar ibn al Khattab under whose leadership Islam spread to Palestine, Syria, Egypt and present-day Iraq. When Umar was killed, an election committee selected Uthman ibn Affan to succeed him -- to the dismay of Ali’s supporters.Uthman was murdered in A.D. 656 and the election committee finally chose Ali to succeed him. Ali’s election was celebrated by his supporters who came to be known as the Shi’at Ali, the partisans of Ali or Shi’as, but he was challenged by rival Muawiyah I from the Umayyad clan.
2SUNNI-SHI’ITE SPLIT Self-flagellation at Ashura gathering Pictures Top Left: Shi’a men beat themselves in commemoration of the death of Husayn (Muharram Procession, Los Angeles, 2005), Inset: Shi’a woman cries in mourning over the murder of Husayn (L.A. 2005)UMMAYAD DYNASTY AND THE ASSASSINATION OF HUSAYNAfter Ali was assassinated in 661, Muawiyah was declared Caliph beginning the Umayyad dynasty, and appointed his son, Yazid, to succeed him. But Ali’s youngest son, the Prophet’s grandson, Husayn, (his eldest son, Hasan had died after abdicating the throne to avoid a civil war) refused to pay homage to the new leader and, instead, led the Shi’as in a revolt.The small band of Shi’as, including women and children, marched to the city of Kerbala in present-day Iraq where they were surrounded by thousands of Yazid’s troops. The Umayyad soldiers killed the male members of Husayn’s party and paraded Husayn’s decapitated head through the town. The massacre and martyrdom of Husayn took place on the 10th day of the month of Muharram, the day of Ashura (“tenth” in Arabic), and is commemorated yearly by Shi’as worldwide through demonstrations of self-flogging in sympathy for the victims and in symbolic self-punishment for not having come to Husayn’s defense at Kerbala. The Shi’as from that point on recognized a separate line of spiritual guides (called “Imams”) beginning with Prophet Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law Ali, followed by Ali’s sons, Hasan and Husayn, and continuing with their descendants.TWELVERS (Ithna-Ashara)Most Iranian Shi’as recognize a succession of twelve descendants or “Imams” (hence the name “Twelvers”) after Muhammad’s cousin, Ali. They believe that the twelfth descendant was placed in hiding (or “occultation”) at the age of five to protect him from the enemies of Shi’ism. The last Imam is expected to return as the Mahdi or Messiah before the Day of Judgment (the End of Times) and establish justice and peace throughout the world by establishing Islam as a global religion.DIFFERENCES BETWEEN SUNNI AND SHI’A ISLAMToday 85-90% of Muslims worldwide follow Sunni Islamic traditions and 10-15% of all Muslims are Shi’as. Both Sunnis and Shi’as observe the five basic tenets of Islam but differ slightly in their religious practices and beliefs. Only Shi’as commemorate the martyrdom of Husayn and make regular pilgrimages to the holy Shi’a cities of Kerbala (where Husayn was killed) and Najaf (where the first “Imam,” Ali, is entombed) in Iraq. Unlike Sunnis, Shi’as are also inclined to revere clerics as spiritual guides. While both Sunnis and Shi’as venerate and study the Quran as the word of God (Allah) spoken to Prophet Muhammad through the angel Gabriel, the two groups have different views on the authenticity of books written about Muhammad's life and teachings (collectively called the Hadith).Self-flagellation atAshura gathering
3Pahlavi – “White Revolution” “White” to counter influence of “red” communistsLand reform – government bought land from large absentee owners and sold it to farmers at affordable pricesEncourage agricultural entrepreneurship with irrigation canals, dams, & tractorsWomen’s rights (secularization)SuffrageRestricting PolygamyWomen allowed to work outside the home
4Pahlavi - OIL & the Rent-seeking state Iran transformed into rent-seeking state under Pahlavi’s because of increasing income from oilRentier Economy: heavily supported by state expenditure, while the state receives “rents” from other countriesIran received increasing revenue from exporting oil and leasing oil fields to foreign countriesAlthough shah promoted import substitution policies by 1979 oil & associated industries provided 97% of foreign exchange and majority of Iran’s GNPOil revenue became so great government did not have to rely on internal taxes to generate income, paid expenses from oil profitsThe people become unnecessary to the government in a rentier state
5OIL Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) William Knox D’Arcy POLITICS OF OILIran, which is sitting on more than 9% of all the known oil in the world, exports about three million barrels of oil per day (its quota as set by OPEC) ranking it the fourth largest exporter of oil behind Saudi Arabia, Norway, and the United Kingdom. Today, more than 80% of Iran’s income is earned by exporting its “black gold” accounting for about 40-50% of the government’s budget.The first person to strike oil in Iran in 1901 was William Knox D’Arcy, a wealthy Englishman who had received a 60-year concession to drill in Persia from the Qajar Shah. To manage his find, D’Arcy established the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC) (later called the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company [AIOC]) and constructed a pipelin to take oil from its source to a refinery at Abadan, Iran.APOC’s largest buyer was the British government which had decided to fuel its Royal Navy warships with oil instead of coal. The commodity was so valuable to the British (especially in light of the impending war [WWI]) that the British bought half the company and then acquired the share that had been allotted to Iran through an agreement with the Qajar government.When Reza Pahlevi ascended the throne in 1925, he deemed the Qajar agreement null and void and demanded a 20% share in the company. Although Iran did get its shares in 1933, the standoff fractured relations between the Reza Shah and Britain provoking the Shah to curry relations with Germany.As World War II approached, the demand for oil grew and the need to secure a steady supply became even more critical. In order to make sure that Iranian oil didn’t fall into enemy (German) hands, Britain and the Soviet Union asked the Shah to expel all German nationals from the country. When Reza Shah refused, the British and Soviets forced him to abdicate and encouraged his son, Mohammed Reza Pahlevi to take the throne in his place.By the mid 20th century, Iran still controlled only 20% of the oil industry while most other oil-producing countries enjoyed 50/50 profit sharing agreements. The discrepancy had become a key issue for parliamentarian Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh who orchestrated the nationalization of Iran’s oil. In retaliation, the British banned the importation of all Iranian oil, boycotted Iranian goods and froze Iranian assets held in U.K. banks. With help from the U.S., in 1953 the British orchestrated a coup to topple Mossadegh and return full authority to Mohammed Reza Shah. (see slide #24 )When Mohammed Reza Shah’s authority was restored, ownership of the oil company was divided among American, British, Dutch and French companies and oil production returned to its pre-nationalization level. From that point on, Mohammed Reza Shah relied on the West for his power leading, eventually, to his downfall in the 1979 Islamic Revolution.Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC)Formerly Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC)William Knox D’Arcy
6OIL Abandoned gas pumps in a U.S. city 1973 POLITICS OF OILYom Kippur/Ramadan/October WarOn October 6, 1973 (Yom Kippur), Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Israel. The next day, the Arab state imposed an embargo on oil sales to the United States because of America’s support of Israel. Iran, which was on good terms with the US. At the time, didn’t join the embargo but used the opportunity to increase its own production and raise oil prices. As a result, Iran was awash with money while Americans waited in lines to buy gas a much-inflated prices. To balance things out, the Shah spent billions of dollars buying top-of-the line American military equipment and vehicles to supply Iran’s newly expanded armed forces. He also bought eight nuclear power plants to ease Iran’s growing power needs.The new oil money helped fund a number of government projects but also led to inflation, corruption and a widening gap between the wealthy and the poor who couldn’t buy the luxurious consumer goods that had flooded the market. Popular discontent came to a fever pitch in 1979 when Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Iran vowing to rid the country of foreigners and oust their puppet, Mohammed Reza Shah.1979 RevolutionIn the midst of the chaos of the Islamic Revolution, Iranian oil exports came to a stop. Causing international panic, price controls, rationing and, again, long lines at the gas pumps in the U.S. Iranian oil exports resumed again in March 1979 but the upheaval already caused spikes in gasoline prices and stirred political tensions.When 52 Americans were taken hostage by Iranian students in November 1979, American President Carter retaliated by freezing Iranian assets and imposing an embargo on the import of Iranian oil to the U.s. The oil embargo didn’t harm Iran, which simply sold the commodity to other buyers, but it did result in the redistribution of supplies around the world (see slide #65).Abandoned gas pumpsin a U.S. city 1973Line at gas station in the U.S. 1979
7OIL Khuzestan Province – Iran-Iraq War Iran-Iraq War and OilOn September 22, 1980, Saddam Hussein declared war on Iran for a number of reasons: the fear that the Shi’ite Islamic revolution would spread to Iraq’s own Shi’tie majority; rivalry between Saddam Hussein and Ayatollah Khomeini (who had been expelled from Iraq a few years earlier); Iran’s support for the Kurds and oil. The official declaration of war center on control of the Shatt-al Arab waterway, the main shipping route that connects the Iraqi city of Basra to the Persian Gulf and through which most of Iraq’s oil is transported.The Iraqis also hoped to capture the Iranian province of Khuzestan, home to the main oil-producing cities of Abadan and Masjid-i-Suleiman. Although it was never capture, the city of Abadan was overrun by Iraqis in the first days of the war and sustained great damage to its oil refinery. Production at the oil refinery didn’t resume for another 13 years and only reached its pre-war level of production in The Iranians counterattacked against Iraqi facilities reducing Iraqi oil exports to only 1.8 million barrels per day (BPD) from 3.2 million barrels before the war. Altogether, the war removed almost 4 million daily barrels of oil from the world market.In the mid 1980s, the conflict moved to the Persian Gulf – one of the most strategic waterways in the world due to its importance in world oil transportation. Iran and Iraq began attacking neutral oil tankers that had been carrying oil from the enemy country. By 1986, more than 100 ships had been sunk or damaged compelling Western nations to intervene.Gulf War and OilIn 1988, Iran and Iraq declared a cease-fire but the oil producing facilities in both countries had been badly damaged. The drop in oil prices made it even more difficult to earn income from oil export sales.Iraq hoped to raise oil prices to help pay back their war debt (including $14 million owed to Kuwait) by convincing the OPEC countries to reduce production. Instead, Kuwait, Iraq’s neighbor raised production causing prices to fall even lower. Iraq further accused Kuwait of stealing its oil by “slant-drilling” to extract oil from Iraqi oil wells.In order to help stimulate Iraq’s economy, draw attention away from internal problems, seize Kuwaiti oil, intimidate other countries into forgiving Iraqi debts and settle an age-old border dispute, Saddam Hussein decided to invade Kuwait setting off the Gulf War. The Iraqis were forced to withdraw from Kuwait in early 1991 by a coalition of forces led by the United Nations. As the Iraqi troops left Kuwait, though, they made a last-ditch effort to reduce oil output by setting fire to 500 Kuwaiti oil wells. The fires took more than an year to quell and caused a great deal of environmental damage.Khuzestan Province – Iran-Iraq WarIraq’s Invasion of Kuwait – Gulf War1991
8OIL Highway in Tehran Oil Refinery in Tehran Iran Today By 1993, Abadan’s oil refinery had been rebuilt and production levels reached pre-war levels a few years later. Today, Iran produces almost four million barrels of oil a day, which is still a far cry from the 6-8 million barrels a day it produced in The lower output is due both to damage caused during the Iran-Iraq War and the fact that it acts in compliance with its quota set by OPEC. In order to increase or even maintain its output capacity, Iran needs to invest billions of dollars to repair the damaged oil fields and petrochemical facilities and modernize functioning facilities. Since Iran was one of the first countries to extract oil, most of ht oil near the surface has already been drilled and what is left requires sophisticated machinery to extract.Iran’s oil industry has also suffered from mismanagement and corruption since foreign managers left Iran in Article 81 of Iran’s 1980 constitution expressly forbids the “granting of concessions to foreigners” or the “formation of companies or institutions dealing with commerce, industry, agriculture, service, or mineral extraction,” which restricts the participation of foreign companies in Iran’s reconstruction.Externally, American sanctions have also taken their toll by threatening penalties against any nation that invests more than $20 million per year in Iran’s oil industry. The aim was to target Iran’s greatest source of foreign currency thereby hindering Iran’s ability to fund terrorist activity or develop weapons of mass destruction.GasolineIran is the fourth largest exporter of oil but it is also one of the world’s greatest importers of gasoline. Because it lacks the refining capacity to fully serve its population, Iran is forced to buy 40% of its refined gasoline from outside sources. Since Iranians became used to paying highly subsidized prices for its gasoline (gas priced at around 35 cents a gallon) the demand rapidly grew. In June 2007, the government was forced to begin rationing gasoline and raise prices.Nuclear EnergySince oil exports account for more than 80% of Iran’s income earned by exports and provides a steady stream of hard currency( which Iran needs to buy international products), the government has been trying to lessen Iranian consumption of the valuable commodity by employing nuclear power for Iran’s energy needs. Iran is also trying to develop other export products to less reliance on oil for export income.Highway in TehranOil Refinery in Tehran
9SOURCE OF U.S. OIL IMPORTS Oil Production 2004Million Barrels per DayFormer Soviet Union 9.1Saudi Arabia 8.8United States 5.4Iran 3.9Mexico 3.8ChinaNorway 2.9Venezuela 2.7Iraq 1.5Importance of Iranian oilMost of America’s supply of crude oil comes from U.S. production (35%) and the rest is imported from Canada, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and other countries. But even though the U.S. isn’t directly dependent on Iran for its oil supply, any drastic changes in that country’s supply or production could greatly affect the United States and the rest of the world.Japan, which has no oil of its own, relies on Iran for 17% of its oil imports.141 Iran also supplied about 13% of China’s oil in 2003 and the demand for oil in China has continued to rise. Any disruption in the flow of Iran’s oil could destabilize countries that provide the United States with almost a quarter of its total imports (China, 14%, Japan 9%). A decrease in Iran’s oil production could also affect worldwide prices by disturbing the balance of supply-and-demand.Petrodollars vs. PetroeurosSince World War II, the price of oil has been denominated in U.S. dollars (“petrodollars”) giving the United States a great advantage: first because fluctuations in the value of the dollar have had no direct effect on the price of oil for Americans and secondly because oil-importing countries need to have a supply of dollars in order to purchase oil143 ensuring that the dollar remains the strongest currency in the world.If the situation changed and oil was suddenly priced in euros instead of dollars, the effect on the United States would be devastating. Countries would immediately try to dump their supply of U.S. dollars causing the value of the dollar to plummet and the price of foreign imports into America to go up. A devalued dollar would significantly increase America’s foreign debt and the United States would have much less influence on OPEC and other international institutions.When Saddam Hussein declared that Iraq was no longer going to accept U.S. dollars for Iraq’s oil in 2000, the threat that other OPEC countries would follow suit became a considerable concern to the United States – undoubtedly influencing the government’s decision to go to war with Iraq in Just months after U.S. troops secured control over Iraq, the price for Iraqi oil on the international market was converted back from the euro to the dollar.In 2005, Iran decided that it was going to start accepting euros for its oil and create an Iranian Oil Bourse (IOB) (an oil stock exchange) that could compete with the London and New York dollar-denominated oil exchanges. The move would greatly benefit Iran’s biggest trading partners in the European Union and deal a major blow to Iran’s rival, America. The IOB could make Iran a major hub for oil deals in the region undercutting the two leading oil exchanges, New York’s NYMEX and London’s International Petroleum Exchange (IPE).
10Constitution of 1979 Document & 40 Amendments (Some added in 1989) Mixture of theocracy and democracyPreamble reflects importance of religionVelayat-e faqih (Jurist’s guardianship)Gave broad authority to Khomeini and the clerics
11Khomeini, Fundamentalism, & Revolution Islamic FundamentalismLiteral interpretation of Islamic textsSocial conservatismPolitical traditionalismResentment towards elites, US, and the Western worldUS was the “Great Satan”Velayat-e faqih (jurist’s guardianship)Senior clergy given authority over entire Shi’ia community
12IRAN-IRAQ WAR (1980-1988) Iraqi President Saddam Hussein IRAN-IRAQ WAR (“Iraq-Imposed War”)The rivalry between ethnically Persian Iran and Arab Iraq (once Babylonia, and the eastern edge of the Ottoman Empire) dates back to ancient times. From the 14th century until World War I, the three Ottoman vilayets or “districts” that eventually made up Iraq served as a bulwark between the Ottoman and Persian Empires and, when the Safavids declared Shi’a Islam the state religion in the 16th century, the regions were roughly divided along spiritual lines as well.The rivalry deepened politically in 1978 when the Iraqis under Saddam Hussein (then Iraq’s powerful Vice-President) complied with the Shah’s request to expel the Ayatollah Khomeini from the holy city of Najaf in Iraq (where he had been living in exile for the past 15 years). The slight wasn’t forgotten by Khomeini when he became Iran’s Supreme Leader a year later in the course of the Islamic Revolution in 1979.Iran’s Islamic Revolution posed a great threat to the regime of Saddam Hussein who had become President of Iraq in July Its religious overtones contrasted with Hussein’s secular government and, he feared, the revolutionary spirit could provoke ethnic Kurds in the north or Iraq’s majority Shi’ite population in the south to rise up against his Sunni Baathist regime. To thwart such an uprising, Hussein exiled thousands of Iraqi Shi’ites to Iran and quickly and brutally suppressed any dissension among the Kurds.Saddam also saw the revolution as a great opportunity. Iran’s military was weak after the new Islamic regime had purged the ranks of military officers once loyal to the Shah, and Iran was reeling from instability after the political transition. Iraq’s President exploited the situation by invading Iran’s oil-rich, heavily Arab-populated Khuzestan province -- expecting, wrongly, that the Iranian Arabs living in the region would join forces with their Iraqi Arab brothers to bring a quick victory.Hussein’s official justification for declaring war on Iran originated from a long-standing dispute over access through the Shatt-al-Arab waterway, Iraq’s main shipping route to the Persian Gulf.Under the terms of the 1975 Algiers Treaty, Iraq had agreed to place the border between Iran and Iraq in the middle of the Shatt-al Arab waterway in exchange for a promise by the Shah to withhold support from Iraq’s rebellious Kurds. Hussein rejected the treaty in September 1980, claiming that the arrangement had only been temporary and was valid only as long as the Shah was in power. A few days later, Iraqi troops embarked on a massive invasion of Iran.
13Khomeini & the Islamic Republic Clerics consolidate powerPopular support for regime highWorld oil prices rise again, allowing for social programs, improvements in medicine & housingIraq invades Iran, people rally around the governmentCharisma of Khomeini inspired faith in the governmentKhomeini dies in 1989, constitution amendedAli Khamenei succeeds Khomeini, does not have the same political charisma as the AyatollahIran/Iraq war ends in 1988, country war-tornOil prices drop in 1990’sPopulation begins to question authoritarian rule of the clerics
14Constitutional Amendments of 1989 On April 24, 1989, while on his death bed, Khomeini appointed a 25-member Reform Council (first Assembly of Religious Experts) to appoint his successor and amend the constitutionKhomeini died in June 1989The council named Ali Khamenei as Khomeini’s successor and made several amendments to the constitutionThey eliminated the need for the Supreme Leader to be a marja, or senior cleric, Khamenei was not a marjaEliminated the post of Prime MinisterCreated the Supreme National Security CouncilIncreased the size of the Assembly of Religious Experts to 86 membersGave Assembly of Religious Experts authority to meet once a year & determine if Supreme Leader was “mentally & physically” capable of carrying out their dutiesMade the Expediency Council a permanent institutionConstitution amendments approved by Iranian voters in national referendum with 97% yes vote on July 28, 1989
15Religion 89% of Iranians are Shi’a Muslims 10% are Sunni Muslim The constitution does not mention Sunni’s and their legal status is therefore unknown1% are combination of Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, and Baha’iConstitution recognizes rights of religious minorities, many religious minorities have left country since Islamic RevolutionBaha’i considered unholy offshoot of Islam and they have been persecuted by Shi’ite governments.Baha’i leaders have been executed, imprisoned, tortured, their schools closed and property confiscated
16Political CultureAuthoritarianism (not totalitarianism) – leaders claim to be all powerful, but do not interfere with every aspect of the citizens livesUnion of political & religious authorityShi’ism & Sharia – key components of everyday lifeEscape from European ColonialismGeographic Limitations – limited arable land forced expansion through military conquest, population of Iran unevenly distributed in cities and northwestern part of countryInfluence of Ancient Persia
17Women & the Political System Treatment of women in Iran is probably more contentious for Westerners than the majority of Iranian womenWhen shari’a law is interpreted narrowly women are considered wards of their male relatives“Equality-with-difference” policy – instituted by the Islamic Republic slants law favorably towards men on issues such as divorce and custodyWomen must wear scarves and long coats in publicWomen can not leave country without consent of male relativesOccasionally women stoned for committing adulteryWomen allowed to get education in Iran and entrance into some occupationsExpectations for better jobs and increased political rights among educated womenHalf of college students in Iran are womenWomen make up 27% of the labor force
18WOMEN IN IRANPicturesTop row: girls singing in car (Shiraz), girls in Isfahan, sign for WC (notice woman with headcovering)Bottom row: segregated bus (Tehran), women wearing chadors (Tehran), Iran Air stewardess in uniform.Thirty-one female activists were arrested in Tehran in March 2007 after gathering outside Tehran's Revolutionary Court. The women were there in support of five fellow activists who had demanded changes in laws discriminating against women.Among the grievances:1) Iran has laws on the books that permit death by stoning for women accused of adultery.2) In accordance with Islamic law, women are entitled to receive only half the inheritance that men receive.3) Family laws deny women full custody of their children after a divorce.4) Iranian men are permitted to marry up to four wives in accordance with Islamic custom.5) Employment laws in Iran discriminate against women.6) Women are required to dress modestly by covering their hair with headscarves and donning loose- fitting coats called manteaus. (Some women choose to wear the more modest head-to-toe black or gray chador, as do those women who work in government jobs).7) Women must sit in separate sections on local buses and may only eat in “family sections” in some restaurants.8) Women cannot become judges.9) A woman’s testimony is worth only half that of a man’s.10) Women are required to have a male guardian’s permission to work or travel.11) Unmarried, unrelated men and women are not permitted to congregate without chaperones.12) Women are not allowed to sing in public.Dress codes had loosened considerably since they were imposed after the 1979 Islamic Revolution – especially as a result of the liberalization of Iran during the term of reformist President Mohammed Khatami fromIran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad tried to reverse the trend by cracking down on “improperly” attired men and women. He has used threats by the U.S. as a pretext to curb dissent by claiming that Iran's enemies are using women's and students' movements to foment discontent and discredit the government.Aside from the discriminatory restrictions stated above, women in Iran enjoy many rights not exercised by women in other Muslim countries. More than ½ of all Iranian university students are women. Women are represented in the parliament and may run for high offices (including the presidency). Women are allowed to work, drive and participate in public events.
19Worn in the West and Iran ISLAMIC DRESS CODESISLAMIC DRESS CODES AND THE QURANThe custom of covering women in Islamic countries stems from a number of verses in the Quran (considered the word of God in Islam) and Hadith (collections of accounts of Prophet Muhammad life, words and deeds). In ayah (verse) 24:30-31, the Quran says that "Women should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; they should not display their ornaments except as is normal, they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their close male relatives.”The intention, according to Muslims, is to minimize the image of women as sex objects and emphasize their piety, purity and chastity.Women who observe the hijab (literally "curtain," generally, the custom of dressing modestly) also follow the sunnah, or "custom" of the Prophet's wives who had been instructed to stay secluded and cover themselves if they had to venture outside the home. The directive was originally enacted to spare Muhammad's wives from harassment by eager members of the fledgling Islamic community.Hijab (Head Scarf)Worn in the West and IranChadorIranAbayaSaudi ArabiaBurqaAfghanistanJilbabIndonesia
20Political PartiesConstitution legalized political parties, but they were not allowed until Muhammad Khatami’s election (1997)The Iranian Militant Clerics Society – left wing reform party led by Muhammad Khatami.Khatami president fromSeveral prominent politicians belong to this party including former Majlis speaker, and a vice-presidentCandidate in 2005, Mehdi Karroubi, came in thirdThe Islamic Iran Participation Front – reformist party led by Khatami’s brother, Muhammad Reza KhatamiFounded in 1998, motto “Iran for all Iranians”Did well in 2000 Majlis electionsGuardian Council barred many members from running in 2004 so membership declined
21Political Parties IIExecutives of Construction Party – founded by several former cabinet members of President Akbar Hashemi RafsanjaniImportant supporter of Rafsanjani and his political platformRafsanjani lost election runoff to Ahmadinejad by a large marginThe Islamic Society of Engineers – member of the conservative alliance, party of current president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who secured office in presidential election of 2005The “society” however did not support Ahmadinejad in the election, their candidate was Ali Larijani, who lost in first round
22Reformist PartiesKhordad Front (Alliance between Iranian Militant Clerics Society & Islamic Iran Participation Front) – the alliance helped win reelection for Khatami in 2000.The Second Khordad Front did not survive in 2004 elections as Guardian Council banned many reformist candidates from Majlis electionsLiberation Movement – Moderate party, party founded by Mehdi Bazargan (Khomeini’s PM) in 1961, it was banned in 2002 as subversive organizationNational Front – headed by Mossadeq in 1950, it was banned in late 1980sExile parties – Mojahedin (guerrilla group fought the shah); Fedayin (Marxist guerrillas modeled after Che Guevara); Tudeh (communist party)
23Elections Citizens over 15 allowed to vote until 2007 In 2007, eligibility age for voting changed to 18National elections held for the following:Assembly of Religious ExpertsRepresentatives to the MajlisPresidentElections to Majlis and President are by plurality, winner-take allElections are done over two roundsFirst round narrows field down to 2 candidates
24Elections IIMajlis Election of 2004Feb. 20, 2004Council of Guardians banned thousands of candidates from mostly reformist partiesOut of a possible 2 seats (5 reserved for religious minorities) reformist could only introduce 191 candidates51% - Official voter turnoutConservative candidates won 70% of seatsPresidential Election of 2005Khatami steps down after serving two termsGuardian Council disqualifies about 1000 candidatesOnly 7 candidates runAkbar Hasemi Rafsanjani and Mahmoud AhmadinejadRafsanjani received 21% of the vote compared to Ahmadinejad’s 19% in the first roundIn second round runoff Ahmadinejad won with 62% of the voteRafsanjani suffered from being unable to organize reformist vote behind him
25Iranian Presidential Election - 2009 Only 4 candidates out of 476 men & women who applied were approved by Guardian CouncilElection held on June 12, 2009 with incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad running against three challengers:Mir-Hossein MousaviMohsen RezaeeMehdi KarroubiTurnout was unexpectedly high, well over 50% and polls had to be kept open until midnightAhmadinejad announced as winner the next morning with 62% of vote to Mousavi’s 34%Protest immediately erupted (the Green Revolution) in favor of Mousavi and claiming election fraud
26Iranian Presidential Election II June 14, Mousavi files formal appeal of results with Guardian CouncilJune 15, Supreme Leader Khamenei announces investigation of electoral results will be doneJune 16, Guardian Council announces it will recount votes, however, Mousavi states that 14 million ballots were missing, allowing for a chance to manipulate the resultsJune 29, Iran’s electoral board completes partial recount, and concludes that Ahmadinejad won the election – this leads to more protests
28Interest GroupsIt is difficult to distinguish between parties and interest groups in IranMost exile parties have members in Iran that work for their benefitInterest GroupsIslamic Association of WomenGreen CoalitionWorkers’ HouseInterest group for factory workers, have a political party as well, Islamic Labor PartyHold a May Day rally every year, turned into protest in 1999 against conservative policies to water-down labor laws
29Velayat-e faqih (Jurist’s guardianship) The principle instituted by Khomeini of overarching authority for different government institutions:Supreme LeaderGuardian CouncilAssembly of Religious ExpertsExpediency CouncilThis authority is all-encompassing and is over whole community based on their ability to understand shari’a and their commitment to champion the rights of the people
30Supreme LeaderPosition created for Khomeini, currently held by Ali KhameneiPowers of Supreme Leader:Elimination of presidential candidatesDismissal of the presidentCommand armed forcesDeclares war & peaceAppointment and removal of major administrators and judgesNominates six members of Guardian CouncilAppoints many non-governmental directors, such as radio/TV and semi-public foundationsResponsibilities of Supreme Leader:faqih – he is the leading Islamic jurist to interpret shari’a and religious documentsLinks three branches of government together“Determining the interests of Islam”
31IRAN’S GOVERNMENT SUPREME LEADERS PRESIDENTS Ayatollah Khomeini Mohammed Khatami(r )SUPREME LEADER (Faqih)The Supreme Leader is the most important representative of Islamic authority and the Head of State. The position was filled by Ayatollah Khomeini until his death in In order to accommodate Khomeini’s successor, Ali Khamenei (who had only reached the rank of Hojat al Islam by the time of Khomeini’s death), the constitution was amended to allow the post to be held by a lower-ranking theologian. The powers of the Supreme Leader were also expanded.The Supreme Leader controls the armed forces and the internal security forces and has the sole power to declare war. He also has the power to appoint and dismiss the leaders of the judiciary, half the members of the Council of Guardians and the head of the state radio and television networks. He can also dismiss the president of the Republic if he is found guilty of violating his constitutional duties by the Supreme Court or if he is found incompetent by the Majlis (the legislature). The Supreme Leader must be a member of the Shi’a clergy and exhibit extensive Islamic scholarship. He serves for life.PRESIDENTAlthough the president is second in command after the Supreme Leader, his power is limited (as was exhibited under the rule of reformist President Khatami). All candidates for the presidency must be approved by the Council of Guardians before they can run for office and must believe in the official madhhab (Islamic school of thought) of the country — that is, they must be Twelver Shi’a Muslims. They also must be of Iranian origin and nationality.The president is elected directly by the people for a 4-year term and can serve a maximum of two terms. His primary job is to make sure that the constitution is faithfully observed and executed. He signs and supervises the implementation of laws passed by the Majlis, signs treaties, receives foreign ambassadors and endorses Iranian ambassadors. The president also administers the country’s budget.MAJLIS or ISLAMIC CONSULTATIVE ASSEMBLY (Parliament)In 1906, the Shah bowed to popular pressure and agreed to draft a constitution and establish a representative legislative body, the Majlis. Today, the Majlis consists of 290 members who are elected directly by the people in a secret ballot for 4-year terms. Like the president, all candidates must first be approved by the Council of Guardians. The Majlis is responsible for drafting legislation, ratifying international treaties, and approving the country’s budget. All actions are reviewed by the Council of Guardians.COUNCIL OF GUARDIANS (Guardian Council of the Constitution)The Council of Guardians is the highest and most powerful institution in the government and is currently dominated by conservatives. The office is made up of six religious men chosen by the Supreme Leader and six lawyers (also Islamic scholars) specializing in different areas of law elected by the judiciary and approved by the Majlis. All serve six-year terms. Members of the Council review all laws to determine whether they are in line with the constitution and sharia (Islamic law). If they are found to be against Islam or Iran’s constitution, the laws are vetoed. Council members also examine presidential and parliamentary candidates before they can run for a seat.Ayatollah Khamenei(r present)Mahmoud Ahmadinejad(r present)
32GRAND AYATOLLAH ALI KHAMENEI (Supreme Leader 1989-present)KHAMENEI ASCENDSBy 1988 Khomeini was 88 years old and his health was declining. He knew that it was time to prepare the country for his successor and was aware that no candidates could match his charisma and authority and religious credentials. To preemptively strengthen his successor’s position, therefore, Khomeini proclaimed that the authority of the Supreme Leader (Vali-ye faqih) was absolute.Khomeini had first designated Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri to be his successor. Montazeri’s criticism of Khomeini and the hardliners in the Islamic government and his denouncement of the institution of Velayat-e faqih, though, made him an unsuitable candidate. Instead, Seyyed Ali Hosseini Khamenei, Iran’s president since 1981 and a close confidante of Khomeini, was chosen. Khamenei was a high-ranking cleric but, unlike Montazeri, he hadn’t yet reached the rank of Grand Ayatollah which, at the time, was a constitutional requirement to fill the post of Supreme Leader.To accommodate Khamenei, Iran’s constitution was changed to allow someone of a lower clerical rank to be elected leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran. He was later promoted to the appropriate rank though some Shi’ite clerics refused to acknowledge Khamenei’s new clerical position contending that the rank of Grand Ayatollah must be earned.Two days after Khomenei’s death on June 3, 1989, the Assembly of Experts announced that Khamenei would be Iran’s new Supreme Leader.To counter any questions about his legitimacy serving as Iran’s highest leader, Khamenei radically adhered to Khomeini’s ideological principles. By assuming a conservative stance on issues pertaining to the Islamic Republic, Khamenei also earned the support of conservative clerics who controlled most of Iran’s governmental institutions.
33Guardian Council Responsibilities 12 members All Male 6 members appointed by Supreme Leader6 members nominated by chief judge, approved by MajlisServe 6-year termsResponsibilitiesThey represent theocratic principles within the governmentReview bills passed by Majlis to ensure they conform with shari’aGuardian Council and Supreme Leader together exercise principle of jurist’s guardianship (Make sure all democratic bodies adhere to Islamic laws & beliefs)Power to decide who can compete in electionsIn 2004 & 2008 disqualified thousands of candidates for Majlis electionsIn 2005 & 2009 also disqualified numerous candidates for presidential elections
34Assembly of Religious Experts Expanded in 1989 to an 86 man houseDirectly elected by the people8 year termsMembers originally required to have seminary degree equivalent to a master’s, 1998 revision now allows non-clerics to stand for Assembly – candidates still subject to approval by Council of GuardiansResponsibilitiesBroad constitutional interpretationElected Khomeini’s successor (Khamenei)Reserve right to remove supreme leader
35Expediency Council Currently consists of 40 permanent members Created by KhomeiniMain purpose to “referee” disputes between the Guardian Council and the MajlisBegan as a 13-member group including: president, chief judge, speaker of Majlis, and six jurists from the Guardian CouncilExerts authority over executive, legislative, & judicial branches of gov’t1989, Expediency Council passes some bills, and is institutionalized by constitutional amendmentsCurrently consists of 40 permanent membersIt may originate its own legislationNot all members are clericsAppointed by Supreme Leader for five-year termsCollectively most powerful men in Iran
36President & the Cabinet Iran is not a presidential system, therefore the executive branch does not have the same authority as presidents in presidential systems such as U.S., Mexico, and NigeriaPresident does represent highest official representing democratic principles in IranChief executive, highest state official after Supreme LeaderDirectly elected every 4 years for a maximum of two termsConstitution still requires the president to be a Shi’ite and uphold Islamic principlesThere have been six presidents of the Islamic Republic since the Revolution, three have been clerics.The non-cleric Abol-Hasan Bani-Sadr was ousted in 1981 for criticizing the regime as a dictatorship. Ahmadinejad, who is not a cleric, is often considered more conservative and religious than some past clericsAli Khamenei president from before becoming Supreme Leader
37MOHAMMED KHATAMI (President 1997-2005) The landslide victory of reformist presidential contender Mohammed Khatami over the cleric’s choice candidate signaled widespread discontent. Unemployment had reached 20%, inflation had risen to 25% and per-capita income had dropped to an average of $800 per year from $1200 in Young people, who made up more than 65% of the population, were also frustrated by restrictions imposed by the conservative clerics in power. Women were unhappy about their lack of rights and country’s strict Islamic dress codes.As Iran’s first reformist president Khatami set out to curb corruption, ease religious restrictions and allow a measure of free speech by giving the media more freedom. Dozens of newspapers emerged as a result and news coverage improved. Khatami also mended fences with West European countries by visiting Italy and France and by declaring the Salman Rushdie issue “completely finished”– though he didn’t have the religious authority to revoke Khomeini’s fatwa against the British author. Britain reopened its embassy in Tehran soon after that.Despite Khatami’s popularity and his democratic, reformist vision, he was powerless against the hard-line Islamists in the Iranian government who still controlled the Guardian Council, the judiciary and other powerful institutions and also spiritual leader, Khamenei, who controlled the military, and held ultimate authority. Under their orders, more than 100 liberal publications were shut down, dozens of pro-reform activists and writers were detained and much of Khatami’s reform legislation was blocked.In 2001 Khatami again won reelection in a landslide victory but, by this point, many of his early supporters had become disillusioned by what they perceived as a very slow pace of reform and stayed home during the elections. Khatami’s second and final term ended in 2005.
38MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD (President 2005-present) AHMADINEJAD Before becoming president, Ahmadinejad was a resolute supporter of the Islamic Revolution and headed a hard-line student group while obtaining his degree in engineering. Several of the 52 hostages held at the American Embassy in 1979 claimed that he was one of their captors though the charges were fervently denied by Iranians who participated in the hostage crisis.In 2003, though a relative unknown, Ahmadinejad became the mayor of Tehran. As mayor, he reversed many of the reforms enacted by previous moderate mayors.In August 2005, Ahmadinejad won the presidential election based on his platform to combat corruption and distribute oil revenues to the people among other populist reforms.He also supported a religiously conservative agenda. As president, Ahmadinejad banned many imported films and barred all Western music from state radio and TV stations. In 2007, his administration cracked down on un-Islamic behavior by fining and/or detaining Iranians deemed to be “improperly” attired. And much to the dismay of international civil rights groups, Iran’s President also closed liberal newspapers, blocked web sites and came down on independent journalists and bloggers.Ahmadinejad made international headlines when he claimed that accounts of the Holocaust were fabricated in order to provide the pretext for the creation Jewish state and called for Israel to be “wiped off the map.”Most disturbing to the West was Ahmadinejad’s defiant stance on Iran’s right to complete the “nuclear cycle” to create nuclear energy on Iranian soil – although he consistently claimed that the program was for peaceful purposes only.He was won praise from Muslims worldwide for his bold stand against the West, his support for Palestinians and his dogged pursuit of nuclear energy.Internally, Iranians have feared that his focus on international issues and Iran’s nuclear program have diverted attention away from domestic problems: Iran’s high inflation rate, unemployment and housing shortages. Others worried that his defiance of the U.N. would lead ever more stringent sanctions or war.
39President’s Power Devising the Budget Supervising economic matters Proposing legislation to the MajlisExecuting policiesSigning of treaties, laws, and agreementsChairing the National Security CouncilSelecting deputies and cabinet ministersAppointing provincial governors, town mayors, and ambassadors
40Semipublic Institutions Theoretically autonomousIn reality they are directed by clerics appointed by the Supreme LeaderUsually called “foundations” (bonyads), an Islamic charity organizationFoundation of the OppressedMartyrs FoundationFoundation for the Publication of Imam Khomeini’s WorksFoundations are tax exemptReputed to have a great deal of wealthMost property they supervise was confiscated from pre-1979 elite
41Legislature: MAJLIS Unicameral legislature Assembly of Religious Experts has served similar to an upper house since 1989 (Both groups are elected representatives)Created by Constitution of 1906, however Constitution of 1979 and 1989 amendments weakened the Majlis power290 seatsAll directly elected through single member districts by citizens over 18 years old
42Majlis Authority Powers of the Majlis Enacting or Changing Laws, qanun (with approval of Guardian Council)The constitution uses the term qanun (statutes) rather than shar’ia (divine law) to avoid the question of whether laws come from God or the peopleIt accepts the rationale that God formulates divine law (shar’ia), but elected representatives can draw up statutes (qanun)Interpretation of legislation (as long as it does not contradict judicial authorities)Appointment of 6 of 12 Guardian Council members from list made by chief judgeInvestigation of the cabinet ministers and public complaints against the executive and judiciaryRemoval of cabinet ministers, but not the presidentApproval of budget, cabinet appointments, treaties, & loans
43Majlis elections Election of 2000 (6th Majlis) Reformists fill seats through coalition of reformist parties (Khordad Front)Reformists win 80% of the vote, most secular voters whose parties were banned supported the reformists.Participation was over 70% of the electorateElection of 2004 (7th Majlis)Guardian Council bans thousands of reformist candidatesOverwhelming victory for conservativesControl of the Majlis flips from the reformists to the conservative factionMany Iranians were disappointed in failure of Khordad Front to initiate reformsParticipation of the electorate dropped to around 50%
442008 Majlis ElectionsThe 2008 elections for the 8th Majlis turned into a repeat performance of 2004The Guardian Council, assisted by the Interior Ministry, disqualified more than 3,000 potential candidates, including some of the leading reformers who held seats in the 7th MajlisThe conservatives, led by Ahmadinejad’s Principalist’s Party, took 190 seats, although many were critical of Ahmadinejad’s populist rhetoricThe reformers, mostly supported by Khatami’s Islamic Iran Participation Front and Rafsanjani’s Servants of Reconstruction, took 40 seats
452008 Majlis Elections IIThe remaining 60 seats went to independents, many who were sympathetic to the reformersAlthough the government claimed the turnout was over 50%, it was probably much lower than that, and more than likely closer to 25-30% in TehranAbstention was considered a form of protest over the actions of the Guardian Council and the current regimeThe reformers hope to revive nearly 100 reform bills that were passed in the 6th Majlis but vetoed by the Guardian Council
46Reform ProposalsEliminate legal distinctions between Muslims and non-MuslimsRaise the marriage age for girlsEliminate legal distinctions between men and womenStipulate that divorce courts divide property equallyGrant women scholarships to study abroadAllow women deputies to wear the hejab (headscarf) instead of the chadour (full covering)Ratified the UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (something not even the US has ratified)
47Judiciary Distinction between two types of law: shari’a & qanun Judicial review does not exist in IranPrinciple of jurist’s guardianship means that the Supreme Leader, the Guardian Council, and the Assembly of Religious Experts have final say regarding interpretation of lawUltimate legal authority does not rest in the constitution, but in shari’a law itselfBecause interpreting shari’a is difficult it has been applied in different ways at various timesBecause of Ayatollah Khomeini’s approach, interpretation of shari’a came to be the standard that would influence all succeeding Iranian leaders
48Judiciary II Islamic Republic Islamicized the judiciary code to interpret shari’a strictlyRetribution LawPermitted families to demand “blood money” – compensation to the victim’s family from those responsible for someone’s deathMandated the death penalty for actions such as adultery, homosexuality, drug dealing and alcoholismSet up unequal treatment between men & women, and Muslims & non-MuslimsBanned interest rates on loans, viewed as usury, which means lenders take advantage of people seeking loans
49Law Shari 'a Qunan Islamic law Considered to be foundation of all Islamic civilizationEmbodies a vision of a community in which all Muslims are brothers and sisters subscribe to the same moral valuesShari’a supersedes all other law in Iranian societySupreme leaders authority and the jurist’s guardianship based on importance of shari’aQunanNo sacred basisStatutes passed by Majlis“the People’s Law”Can never contradict shari’aGuardian Council & Supreme Leader must make sure all laws apply interpretations of shari’a
50Law & JusticeKhomeini realized that despite the influence of shari’a judges, the regime did need a centralized judicial system to tend to matters of justice in an orderly mannerThe interpretation of shari’a was broadened so that the harsh penalties of the Retribution Law are rarely carried outModern methods of punishment are more common than harsh public retributionRegime retained the shah’s court structureAppeals systemHierarchy of state courtsCentral government’s right to appoint and dismiss judges
51Judicial Structure Supreme Court High Council of the Judiciary Two courts have a single head officialHigh Council has 4 membersBoth courts supervise enforcement of all lawsThey establish all judicial and legal policy regarding judicial system- Other courts include: Special Clerical Court, Revolutionary Court, and Special Administrative Court
52MilitaryRevolutionary Guard – established by Khomeini after the revolution, a parallel military force to the shah’s traditional armed forces that were the 5th largest at the timeCommanders of the Revolutionary Guard are appointed by the Supreme LeaderAccording to the constitution, the regular army defends the borders, the Revolutionary Guard protects the republicBoth were greatly strained during the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980’sBasij – volunteer militia of those to young to serve created during Iran-Iraq War.Martyred by Khomeini against the invading Iraqi troopsAfter the war they became the Supreme Leader’s private militiaCurrently serve as the Islamic Republic’s “morality police” (Comparable to Hitler Nazi Youth)Iran’s armed forces currently have over 500,000 active troops making it the 8th largest military in the world
53Theocratic & Democratic Elements of Iran’s Government Structure Supreme LeaderTheocratic CharacteristicsJurist guardianship; ultimate interpreter of shari’a; appointed for lifeDemocratic CharacteristicsGuardian CouncilJurist guardianship; interpreter of shari’a; six members selected by the Supreme LeaderSix members selected by the Majlis; which is popularly elected, indirect democratic tieAssembly of Religious ExpertsJurist guardianship; interpreter of shari’aDirectly elected by the people
54Theocratic & Democratic Elements of Iran’s Government Structure Expediency CouncilTheocratic CharacteristicsAppointed by the Supreme Leader; most members are clericsDemocratic CharacteristicsSome members are not clericsMajlisResponsibility to uphold shari’aDirectly elected by the people; pass qanun (statutes)JudiciaryCourts held to shari’a law; subject to the judicial judgments of the Supreme Leader, Guardian CouncilCourt structure similar to those in democracies; “modern” penalties, such as fines and imprisonment
55Public Policy: Policy-Making Factions ConservativesCreated by often contradictory influences of theocracy & democracyConservatives uphold principles of regime established in 1979Against modernization because it threatens Shi’ismWary of western influencePolitical & religious decisions should be one in the sameSupport right of clerics to run the political systemReformistsBelieve political system needs reform (but disagree on what reforms)Advocate some degree of international involvement with western countriesBelieve Shi’ism is important basis of Iranian societySupport idea that political leaders do not have to be clerics
56Public Policy: Policy-Making Factions II StatistsGovernment should take active role in the economyNot necessarily communistsPolicy goals include:Redistribute landRedistribute wealthEliminate unemploymentFinance Social Welfare ProgramsPrice restrictions on Consumer goodsFree-marketersSimilar market principles to the US, but in a theocratic/democratic stateLiberal Economic PoliciesRemove price controlsLower business taxesEncourage private enterpriseBalance the budget
57NUCLEAR WEAPONS BUILDING A NUCLEAR BOMB Nuclear Fission When atoms split into two roughly equal pieces – or undergo “fission” – they release a great deal of energy (called “nuclear energy”) in the form of heat. In some cases, the atom fragments hit other atoms which then split themselves creating more heat. Under the right conditions, they will continue to split causing a self-sustaining fission chain reaction that will continue indefinitely releasing greater and greater amounts of energy and heat. When the fission chain is controlled in a nuclear reactor, the energy can be converted into electricity (nuclear power). In a nuclear weapon, the chain reaction isn’t controlled, causing horrible destruction. In order to create nuclear fission, one must start with fissionable materials – specifically, highly enriched uranium or plutonium. Both can be used to create nuclear energy and nuclear weapons.Uranium (Named after the planet “Uranus”)Uranium is a natural element found in a large variety of minerals and in seawater. But only a small percentage (7 of 1000 atoms) of naturally occurring uranium contains uranium-235 – the ingredient needed to generate a fission chain reaction (the other 993 atoms are composed of uranium-238)..Once mined, the uranium ore is crushed and mixed with water and other particles until it becomes a compound called yellow cake. The yellow cake is then converted into uranium hexafluoride and then enriched to separate the uranium-235 from the uranium-238. The extent of the enrichment is determined by the purpose of the uranium – greater enrichment produces a higher concentration of uranium-235 (up to 90%, called “weapons-grade uranium”) which can be used to create nuclear weapons. Less enrichment is needed for peaceful, civilian, energy-producing purposes (called “low-enriched uranium” or LEU).Plutonium (Named after the planet “Pluto”)Unlike uranium, plutonium doesn’t occur naturally but is made from spent fuel from a nuclear reactor (uranium-238 converted into plutonium). Although far smaller quantities of plutonium are needed to create power and build a bomb, it is much harder to work with and extremely dangerous to handle.In order to dissolve and then separate the unused uranium from plutonium, a process called reprocessing is applied. The separated plutonium is then fabricated into nuclear fuel or nuclear weapons. Like uranium, different degrees of pure plutonium are used for different purposes. “Reactor-grade” plutonium contains less than 80% plutonium-239 while “weapons-grade plutonium” will contain 80-93% pure plutonium Although both can be used to make nuclear weapons, “weapons-grade plutonium” is preferred since it is easier to handle.
58IRAN’S NUCLEAR PROGRAM Background Iran’s nuclear program began in the late 1950s while Iran was still on good terms with the United States. At the time, the U.S. was offering technical assistance and supplies to friendly nations that were interested in producing nuclear energy. With U.S. encouragement, the Shah ordered the establishment of a nuclear research center at Tehran University in Soon after that, the U.S. supplied Iran with a research reactor and a “start-up source” of enriched uranium and plutonium. In 1968, Iran was also one of the first nations to sign the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which required countries with nuclear know-how to help non-nuclear states develop peaceful nuclear power in return for a promise that they would never develop nuclear weapons. Although Iran in the 1970s had plenty of oil, the regime feared that the country’s supply of oil reserves would be exhausted within 30 years. To forestall any energy problems, the Shah planned to use Iran’s oil money to build sufficient nuclear power plants to generate 23,000 megawatts of electricity by 1994.For nearly a decade after signing the NPT, Iran received billions of dollars worth of nuclear supplies, equipment and technical support from France (which helped install reactors in the city of Bushehr), the United States, Britain, Germany, Denmark, South Africa and other nations. However, all the nuclear power activity came to an abrupt halt in 1978 when Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini deemed nuclear weapons contrary to Islamic values.As information began to emerge that Iraq was pursuing nuclear weapons, however, interest in the pursuit of nuclear energy began to pick up once again. This time, the Iranians turned to China, Pakistan and eventually Russia, which signed a nuclear technology cooperation agreement with Iran in With Russia’s help, the Iranians worked to rebuild reactors at Bushehr (which had been bombed by the Iraqis during the Iran-Iraq war) and took advantage of the expertise of the “father of the Pakistani nuclear program,” Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan.A.Q. Khan
59NUCLEAR POWER: Peaceful or Aggressive Intentions? EnergyUn-Islamic (fatwa)Demand for energy outpacing supplyReserve of oil for exportTechnical developmentsPermitted according to terms of the NPTWeaponsIran has enough natural gasAggressive rhetoric of Iran’s President, AhmadinejadSecret construction of nuclear power plantsRelations with terrorist organizationsNUCLEAR POWER: PEACEFUL OR AGGRESSIVE AIMS?Ayatollah Khomeini’s successors continue to maintain that Iran is only interested in developing nuclear power with no intention of building weapons. In 2005, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei even issued a fatwa (a legal ruling by an Islamic cleric) forbidding the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons.Critics abroad doubt this claim and contend that Iran has more than enough natural gas to make hundreds of megawatts of electricity each year. They claim that Iran’s government is using the need for nuclear energy as a cover to develop nuclear weapons and point to Iran’s secret development of nuclear power plants as evidence that Iran has had nefarious intentions.Iranian officials point out that under the terms of the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT (Article IV in particular), which Iran joined in 1974, Iran has the legal right to develop its nuclear power program and is even entitled to receive help from other nuclear-powered nations. But because of sanctions, they contend, Iran was forced to acquire parts and expertise from underground sources.Iranians have asserted that the rate of Iran’s growing demand for energy is rapidly outpacing the country’s ability to produce it. Without exploring alternative sources of energy, officials have predicted the country will have to import oil by the year 2021– a disastrous fate for a country that obtains 80% of its export earnings from oil. Already, Iran is forced to import refined oil products from regional countries since domestic refineries can only produce about 60% of the gasoline Iranians consume daily.Relying on nuclear energy for Iran’s power needs would also allow the country to sell the surplus oil that it currently burns to generate electricity.
60IRAN’S NUCLEAR PROGRAM DEFENSE: Energy needs aside, there is no question that Iran would benefit from having a nuclear weapons arsenal for defensive purposes. In the 1980s, the threat that Iraq might acquire nuclear weapons was especially daunting, especially in light of the destruction caused by chemical weapons employed by Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war. Today, Iran is surrounded by nuclear-weapon-armed countries allied to the United States (Pakistan, Israel and India) as well as Russia.In 1991, Iran watched as the U.S. accomplished in a month what Iran couldn’t in eight years, defeat Saddam Hussein. In 2003, American forces again swept through Iraq and stationed forces in the country. Many Iranians feel that had Hussein successfully acquired nuclear weapons, the U.S. would have hesitated before invading. They point to the lack of action against North Korea, a country which openly possesses nuclear weapons, as an example.Armed with nuclear weapons, Iran’s prestige among Islamic countries would skyrocket -- especially if it became the most powerful counterforce to Israel in the region. Lastly, the possession, or even imminent possession, of nuclear weapons could, and has been, used as a bargaining chip for negotiation.NATIONAL PRIDE: Iranian politicians paint America’s belligerent stance against Iran’s nuclear program as part of a Western campaign to keep the country underdeveloped technologically. Besides providing cheap, abundant and eco-friendly energy, nuclear technology can be used for medical diagnoses and treatment, food preservation, sterilization, and other industrial, mechanical and agricultural applications. Mastering the full extent of nuclear power has become a matter of pride for Iran.SHAHAB MISSILESBetween 1988 and 1994, Iran began making Shahab-1 long-range missiles with help from North Korea. The Shahab-1 missile has a range of about 190 miles, enough to strike Baghdad during the Iran-Iraq war. In July 2003, Iran added the Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missile to its military arsenal. The Shahab-3 has a range of about 800 miles, which could easily reach Israel and is fully capable of carrying nuclear warheads.Dissident groups have claimed that Iran also has a Shahab 4 and is developing the missile to stages 5 and 6 with the help of Russia and in cooperation with North Korea. The Shahab-5 and 6 would have a 2,000-3,700 mile range, capable of hitting the eastern edge of the United States.BushehrPower Plant
61CAN IRAN’S NUCLEAR FACILITIES BE DESTROYED? Osirak (1981)Many targets (Bushehr, Natanz, Arak)Domestic supply of uraniumHeavily guardedPossible duplicate sitesKnowledge to rebuildCOULD IRAN'S NUCLEAR FACILITIES BE DESTROYED?In June 1981, Israel destroyed the Iraqi Osirak nuclear reactor near Baghdad damaging Iraq's ability to produce nuclear weapons. Could Israel or the United States do the same to Iran?Some experts say that although the attack on Osirak technically set back Iraq's nuclear weapon capabilities, it heightened Saddam Hussein's determination to step up Iraq's nuclear weapons program.Unlike Iraq, Iran has the raw materials and technological expertise to produce nuclear weapons on its own. Iran has uranium mines in Yazd and is capable of enriching uranium utilizing its own gas centrifuges.Iran's nuclear facilities are farther away from Israel than Iraq's Osirak reactor. In order for Israel to attack Iran's facilities the country would need to fly through Turkish, Saudi Arabian, Jordanian or Iraqi airspace. It's unlikely that Turkey, Saudi Arabia or Jordan would allow Israel to fly over their countries in order to attack another Islamic country. If the U.S. allowed Israel to fly over Iraq, it would be tantamount to endorsing Israel's actions.Iran has a number of nuclear facilities (in Bushehr, Natanz and Arak) located far apart from each other. The attack would have to target all of these locations in order to be effective.Iran has heavily fortified its nuclear facilities employing advanced Russian air defense systems to guard them. Many of the most sensitive areas have been built underground making them even more difficult to penetrate.Even if Bushehr, Natanz and Arak are destroyed, Iran probably has duplicate nuclear sites and the knowledge to rebuild reactors using locally mined uranium.
62POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES OF AN ATTACK Close the Strait of HormuzWithhold Iranian oilEncourage Shi’a militias to attack U.S. troopsActivate Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic JihadDestabilize countries with large number of Shi’asDirect attacks: Israel, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, IraqPOSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES OF AN ATTACKAn attack on Iran's nuclear facilities would be viewed as an act of aggression by Iran and internationally and provide Iran with the justification and impetus needed to create a defensive nuclear weapons program. An attack would undoubtedly prompt Iran to pull out of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation (NPT) treaty as North Korea did in Without the agreement, Iran would no longer be subject to inspections allowing it free rein in the construction of nuclear weapons. Without the constraints of the NPT, Iran would be a much bigger threat. An attack on Iran could further isolate and demonize Israel and the U.S. internationally. Since Russia is heavily invested in the Bushehr nuclear facility, an attack would greatly damage relations between the U.S. and Russia -- especially if any of the 100s of Russian workers currently employed at the facility are killed or wounded in the assault.Although many Iranians currently oppose the domestic policies of their regime, an attack on the country would encourage Iranians to rally behind their government in a nationalistic show of force. The state of war would also give the religious regime cause to violate civil rights and crackdown on dissidents.IF IRAN WANTED TO ATTACK THE WESTStrait of Hormuz: Iran is strategically located on the northern coast of the narrowest channel for marine traffic between the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea -- the transport route of 20% of the world's oil supply. By closing the Strait of Hormuz, Iran could drastically disrupt the flow of oil affecting worldwide petroleum prices. They could also entrap and destroy naval forces stuck in the Persian Gulf. Oil: Iran is the world's fourth largest producer of crude oil. Any disruption in the export of Iran's gas and petroleum would cause oil prices to skyrocket internationally and badly hurt the economies of the countries that rely on Iran's oil and gas supply for fuel -- particularly China and India. On the other hand, about 80% of Iran's total export earnings come from the sale of oil (40-50% of the government's entire budget). It's unlikely that Iran would risk such a blow to its own economy in the cause of war. Shi’as: Iraq's current Shi'a-dominated regime is closely allied to it's Persian Shi'a neighbor. One of Iraq's largest parties was formed in 1982 in Iran and many high-ranking members of the Iraqi government were born or have spent time in exile in Iran. If provoked, Iran could call galvanize associates in Iraq to attack U.S. troops and U.S. allies. Iran is also closely tied to Hezbollah, a Shi’a Islamist political organization based in Lebanon, and supports Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other militant groups in the region. With Iranian provocation, these groups could join together to attack Israel. Iran could also destabilize countries with large numbers of Shi’a Muslims (including Saudi Arabia).Direct attacks: Iran has the capability to fire missiles on Israel and American bases stationed in the Oman, Qatar, Kuwait and Iraq.
63FUTURE Sanctions War Terrorism FUTURE Representatives of the European Union have optimistically said that the door is still open for negotiation with Iran. Many members of the U.S. Administration, on the other hand, think aggressive action is needed against the country. Many American politicians, including President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and even leading 2008 Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have said that "all options are on the table" if Iran continues to defy international pressure and becomes hostile.The greatest fear among Americans, Israelis and other nations, is that Iran will acquire nuclear weapons and dramatically alter the geopolitical balance in the region. A nuclear-armed Iran would be a great military threat to Israel and could threaten Europe and the U.S. if the Islamic Republic acquired missiles with long-range capabilities. A nuclear-armed Iran could also trigger an arms race throughout the Middle East as Sunni-Muslim countries (Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt) developed their own nuclear-weapons programs in defense and to offset Iran's new military power. Conversely, a nuclear-armed Iran could be an asset to Muslim countries if they joined together against the West.Since Iran is one of the biggest supporters of militant Islamic organizations (including Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, Hamas and possibly insurgents in Iraq and the Taliban), there is also real fear that these groups or other terrorists would get their hands on nuclear weapons and wield terrible destruction.Even without possessing nuclear weapons, Iran has used its nuclear program and the implied threat of nuclear war as a bargaining chip to gain concessions from the West. If the leaders changed course and proclaimed intent to develop nuclear weapons, the United States and Europe would be forced to engage diplomatically with Iran.This danger is so significant that Israelis and many Americans have urged the U.S. government to preemptively strike Iran's nuclear facilities, as Israel did in 1981 when they destroyed Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor, setting back Iraq's nuclear weapons program for years.Alternatively, the U.S. has covertly supported resistance groups within Iran, in the United States and abroad. A more passive approach towards Iran has been suggested by the Iraq Study Group headed by former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker and former Congressman Lee Hamilton. The group suggested engaging Iran constructively in order to help end the violent impasse in Iraq. An even bolder and controversial suggestion came from IAEA chief Mohammed ElBaradei. In his estimation, since Iran has already attained the know-how to enrich uranium, the world should simply get used to dealing with a nuclear Iran.