2 SECTION 1 THE MAKING OF THE MODERN IRANIAN STATE
3 THE MAKING OF THE MODERN IRANIAN STATE Politics in ActionContrasting Iranian electionsElection of 1997: Muhammad Khatami elected President.Middle ranking cleric, not ayatollahAyatollah—literally “sign of God”; high-ranking cleric.Campaign promisesCreate a more open civil society.Civil society—space occupied by voluntary associations outside the state; e.g., trade unionsTo protect individual liberties, freedom of expression, women’s rights, political pluralism, and rule of law
6 THE MAKING OF THE MODERN IRANIAN STATE Politics in Action (Cont’d)Contrasting Iranian elections (Cont’d)Election of 2005: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad elected presidentUltra-conservative, populistCampaign promisesReduce povertyPromote social justiceEnd corruptionReverse liberal changes implemented under KhatamiDenounced West as “decadent”Re-elected in 2009 in controversial electionMass protestsWidespread accusations of ballot rigging
7 THE MAKING OF THE MODERN IRANIAN STATE Politics in Action (Cont’d)Contradictory political forces at workWritten constitution tries to synthesize:Theocracy and democracy; Spiritual authority and popular sovereigntyTheocracy—state dominated by the clergy, who rule on the grounds that they are the only interpreters of God’s will and law.Divine rights and human rightsAlthough they have regular elections for the presidency and Majles (Parliament), the clerically dominated Guardian Council determines who can run.Majles—Iranian parliament, from the Arabic term for “assembly”.Guardian Council—a committee created in the Iranian constitution to oversee the Majles (the parliament)
8 THE MAKING OF THE MODERN IRANIAN STATE Politics in Action (Cont’d)Contradictory political forces at work (Cont’d)The PresidentPresident is formal head of executive branch, but can be overruled, and even dismissed, by the Leader / Supreme Leader.Leader/Supreme Leader—Cleric elected to be the head of the Islamic Republic of Iran.Appoints the minister of justiceWhole judiciary is under the supervision of chief judge who is appointed by the Leader.The Majles is the legislature, but bills do not become law unless the Guardian Council deems them compatible with Islam and the Islamic constitution.
9 THE MAKING OF THE MODERN IRANIAN STATE Geographic SettingMost of Iran is inhospitable to agriculture.Bordered by Great Salt Desert and two mountain rangesRain-fed agriculture confined mostly to northwest and provinces along the Caspian SeaOnly pastoral nomads survive in semiarid zones and high mountain valleys.Iran is the second-largest oil producer in the Middle East and fourth in the world.Middle-income country
11 THE MAKING OF THE MODERN IRANIAN STATE Geographic Setting (Cont’d)Iran lies on strategic crossroads areas, making it vulnerable to invasion.Central Asia and TurkeyIndian subcontinent and Middle EastArabian Peninsula and Caucasus MountainsConsidered boundary between Europe and AsiaPopulation reflects invasions.Majority speak Farsi.Farsi—Persian word for the Persian language. Farsi is a province in Central Iran.
14 THE MAKING OF THE MODERN IRANIAN STATE shari’a —Islamic law derived mostly from the Qur’an and the examples set by the Prophet Muhammad.
15 THE MAKING OF THE MODERN IRANIAN STATE Critical JuncturesThe Safavids (1501–1722)Safavid family conquered territory that is now Iran in sixteenth century.Forcibly converted subjects to Shi’ismShi’i communities had existed in area but majority adhered to Sunni.
16 THE MAKING OF THE MODERN IRANIAN STATE The Safavids (1501–1722) (Cont’d)Minorities included Sunni, Jews, Zoroastrians, Christians.Minorities were tolerated if they paid special taxes, accepted royal authority.Minorities tolerated as legitimate “People of the Book”People of the Book—The Muslim term for recognized religious minorities, such as Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians.Mentioned in Qur’an, had their own sacred textsQur’an—The Muslim Bible.Safavids claimed absolute power, but lacked central state.
17 The Making of the Modern Iranian State The Qajars (1794–1925)Afghan tribesmen invaded in 1722.After half-century of civil war, reconquered much of Iran.Recreated Safavid system of central manipulation and court administration, including Persian scribesDeclared Shi’ism to be state religionQajar rule coincided with European imperialism.Russian invasions established current borders.British Imperial Bank won monopoly to issue paper money.Indo-European Telegraph Company got contract to extend communication lines throughout the country.Oil rights in southeast were sold to British citizen.Resentments led to Constitutional Revolution of 1905– 1909.
18 THE MAKING OF THE MODERN IRANIAN STATE The Qajars (1794–1925) (Cont’d)1906 constitutionIntroduced electionsSeparation of powersLaws made by a legislative assemblyConcepts of popular sovereignty and the nation (mellat)Maintained monarchy, but centered political power in national assembly, called Majles.Majles had authority over all laws, budgets, treaties, loans, concessions, and make-up of cabinet.Constitution contained a bill of rights.Guaranteeing equality before the law, protection of life and property, safeguards from arbitrary arrest, and freedom of expression and association.Shi’ism declared Iran’s official religion.Guardian Council was given veto power.
19 THE MAKING OF THE MODERN IRANIAN STATE The Qajars (1794–1925) (Cont’d)Initial euphoria gave way to disillusionment.European pressure continued.FamineMajles polarized into liberal and conservative factionsLiberals favored social reform including replacement of shari’a.Central government lacked army, bureaucracy, tax-collectingUnable to administer provincesRussia and Britain divided Iran into three zones during World War I.Iran in disarray by 1921
20 THE MAKING OF THE MODERN IRANIAN STATE The Pahlavis (1925–1979)1921 General Reza Khan carried out military coup d’état.Coup d’état: A forceful, extra-constitutional action resulting in the removal of an existing government.1925: Deposed Qajars, crowned himself shah-in-shah (king of kings)Established Pahlavi dynasty; first nontribal dynasty in IranTransfer of power endorsed by Majles.Ruled until 1941, when British and Soviets invaded IranAbdicated to son and went into exile
21 THE MAKING OF THE MODERN IRANIAN STATE The Pahlavis (1925–1979) (Cont’d)Muhammad Reza Shah retained control over armed forcesHad to tolerate free press, independent judiciary, competitive electionsTwo vigorous political movements:Tudeh—communist; mainly trade unionsNational Front—drew support from salaried middle class; nationalisticLed by Dr. Muhammad MossadeqMuhammad Mosaddeq elected prime minister 1951.Overthrown in 1953 when shah was installed with absolute power.Coup was financed by United States (CIA) and Britain.1979: Islamic Revolution; Shah overthrown
22 THE MAKING OF THE MODERN IRANIAN STATE The Pahlavis (1925–1979) (Cont’d)Pahlavi dynasty built a highly centralized state.Rested on pillars of armed forces, bureaucracy, royal patronageEstablishment of state-subsidized, tax-exempt Pahlavi FoundationJustice Ministry supplanted shari’a with civil code and modern judicial systemWhite Revolution designed to prevent communist-led revolutionIncluded agricultural reforms and women’s suffrageState controlled major institutions including banks, media, oil.
23 THE MAKING OF THE MODERN IRANIAN STATE The Pahlavis (1925–1979) (Cont’d)Secularization, centralization, industrialization, and social developmentGained favor from urban propertied classDisregard for constitutional libertiesState appeared strong because controlled coercion and administrationDid not link institutions to social structureShah formed Resurgence Party 1975.Declared country one-party stateThreatened imprisonment and exile if refuse to join partyDesigned to give organizational link to population, especially bazaars (traditional marketplaces).
24 THE MAKING OF THE MODERN IRANIAN STATE The Islamic Revolution (1979)Anti-shah cleric Khomeini formulated new version of Shi’ism, labelled Islamic fundamentalism (also referred to as political Islam or Shi’i populism.Fundamentalism—term used to describe radical religious movements through the world.Political Islam—intermingling of religion with politics ; often used as a substitute for fundamentalism.Denounced monarchies as part of corrupt, exploiting masses
25 THE MAKING OF THE MODERN IRANIAN STATE The Islamic Revolution (1979)Gave new meaning to Shi’i term for jurist’s guardianshipJurist’s guardianship—Khomeini’s concept that the Iranian clergy should rule on the grounds that they are the divinely appointed guardians of both the law and the people. He developed this concept in the 1970s.Gave senior clergy all-encompassing authority over whole communityOnly senior clerics had competence to understand shari’a.Clergy were people’s true representatives.
26 THE MAKING OF THE MODERN IRANIAN STATE The Islamic Revolution (1979) (Cont’d)Minor economic difficulties and international pressure concerning human rights violations 1977Shah cut construction projects, declared war against profiteers.Human rights pressure gave opposition opening.Bloody Friday September 8, 1978Troops killed unarmed demonstrators.General strike brought economy to halt by late 1978.
27 THE MAKING OF THE MODERN IRANIAN STATE The Islamic Revolution (1979) (Cont’d)Local communities met social needs in urban centers.Food was distributed to the needy by communities attached to mosques and funded by bazaars.Supplanted police with militias known as pasdaranPasdaran—Persian term for guards, used to refer to army of Revolutionary Guards formed during Iran’s Islamic Revolution.Replaced judicial system with shari’a courtsParticipation at demonstrations increased.Led by pro-Khomeini clerics, but broad support
28 THE MAKING OF THE MODERN IRANIAN STATE The Islamic Republic (1979–present)Nationwide referendum replaced monarchy with Islamic Republic.Khomeini overruled option of democratic Islamic Republic, arguing that Islam was democratic.New constitution was crafted by Assembly of Experts.Assembly of Experts —Nominates the Supreme Leader and can replace him. The assembly is elected by the general electorate, but almost all its members are clerics.Elected under boycott by secular organizations and anti- Khomeini clerics, media control, voter intimidation by Hezbollahis (“Partisans of God”)Hezbolliahis—In Iran, religious vigilantes..
29 THE MAKING OF THE MODERN IRANIAN STATE The Islamic Republic (1979–present) (Cont’d)New constitution was crafted by Assembly of Experts. (Cont’d)Majority elected, including hojjat al-Islams (“the proof of Islam”), were pro-Kohmeini clergymen.Hojiat al-Islams—medium ranking cleric.Highly theocratic with Khomeini having majority of authorityBazargan wanted French-style presidential republic Islamic in name, but democratic in structure.Undermined when threatened to submit alternate constitutionKhomeini instigated anti-American sentiment leading to hostage crisis.Thought to be orchestrated to ratify constitutionKhomeini submitted constitution to public.Declared citizens had divine duty to voteConstitution passed, but support eroded
31 THE MAKING OF THE MODERN IRANIAN STATE The Islamic Republic (1979 to Present) (Cont’d)Factors that helped clerics consolidate power in first decadeKhomeini’s overwhelming charisma and popularityIraqi invasion of Iran in 1980Increased oil pricesSecond decade held challenges.Khomeini’s death June 1989Successor lacked charisma and credentials.1988 United Nations brokered cease-fire, ended Iran-Iraq War.Fall in oil pricesIdeological crisis by late 1990sDemocracy over theocracy
32 THE MAKING OF THE MODERN IRANIAN STATE Iran After 9/11Terrorist attacks, invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq has profound effect on Iran.At first brought Iran and United States closerIran saw Taliban and Hussein as enemy.Iran helped in both Iraq and Afghanistan.United States antagonized Iran by including it in the Axis of Evil.Tried to pressure Iran to stop nuclear researchTensions played major role in Ahmadinejad election.Reformers could not be associated with potential coup.Conservatives wanted to stand up to United States.United States and Iran: stalemateUnited States would like to see “behavioral” or regime change, but needs Iran’s cooperation in keeping Iraq in control.Iran has oil, regional position.
33 THE MAKING OF THE MODERN IRANIAN STATE Themes and ImplicationsHistorical Junctures and Political ThemesKhomeinism has divided into two divergent branches:Political liberalismClerical conservatismIran inadvertently prompted Saddam Hussein to launch the Iraq-Iran War in 1980.Denounced United States as “arrogant imperialistHeld United States diplomats as hostages
34 THE MAKING OF THE MODERN IRANIAN STATE Historical Junctures and Political Themes (Cont’d)Acts that isolated Iran from United States, European Community, human rights organizations, and the United NationsDenounced Saudi Arabia as “corrupt puppets of American imperialism”Bought nuclear subs from RussiaDenounced proposals for Arab-Israeli negotiations over PalestineSent money and arms to Muslim dissidentsPermitted intelligence services to assassinate some one hundred exiled opposition leaders living in Western EuropeIran unlikely to be able to develop nuclear weapons in the near future.Successful joint U.S.-Israeli cyber-sabotage program
35 THE MAKING OF THE MODERN IRANIAN STATE Historical Junctures and Political Themes (Cont’d)In 1980s Islamic Republic dealt with many issues, such as:Lack of both agricultural land and irrigationIndustry suffered lack of investment capitalHigh inflation and unemploymentSome leaders favored state-interventionist strategies.Others favored laissez-faire market-based strategies.Laissez-faire —term taken from the French, which means “to let be,” in other words, to allow to act freely.
36 THE MAKING OF THE MODERN IRANIAN STATE Implications for Comparative PoliticsIslamism—new term for the use of Islam as a political ideology. Similar to political Islam and fundamentalism.Bitter conflict exists on two contrasting interpretations of Islam.Between reformers and conservativesBetween so-called fundamentalists and liberal pragmatistsBetween supporters of Khatami and those of AhmadinejadBetween the generation that made the 1979 revolution and new generation that came of age during the revolution
37 SECTION 2 POLITICAL ECONOMY AND DEVELOPMENT State and EconomyOil financed over 90 percent of imports in Iran during the ‘70s.Oil revenues made Iran into a rentier state.Rentier state —country that obtains much of its revenue from the export of oil or other natural resources.
38 POLITICAL ECONOMY AND DEVELOPMENT Iran’s Economy under the Islamic RepublicIran’s main economic problem has been instability in the world oil market.Oil revenues provide 80 percent of hard currency.Economic difficulties resulting in twenty-two year economic crisis lasting into 1990s:Population explosionIran-Iraqi WarEmigration of some three million IraniansTechnicians and professional fled to West after revolution.Some successesReconstruction of Ministry—roads, schools, librariesAgricultural Ministry—redistribution of lands to poorGovernment—allowing privatization
39 POLITICAL ECONOMY AND DEVELOPMENT Society and EconomyDuring Shah’s reign, huge state investment into social welfare.Shah’s approach to development decreased his popularity.Believed if economic growth benefited wealthy, it would trickle down—it did not.High inequality by mid-1970s; resulted in dual societyDual society—A society and economy that are sharply divided into a traditional, usually poorer, and modern, usually richer, sectors.Each sector stratified into unequal classesIncreased fueled resentment, expressed more in cultural and religious terms than in economic and class terms
42 POLITICAL ECONOMY AND DEVELOPMENT Society and EconomyLife has improved for most Iranians.Extension of social services narrowed gap between town and country.Literary rate for ages six to twenty-nine hit 97 percent.Infant mortality rate fell.Life expectancy climbed from fifty-five to sixty-eight.94 percent of population had access to health services.Major strides toward population control
44 POLITICAL ECONOMY AND DEVELOPMENT Iran in the Global EconomyIran began integrating into world system in latter half of nineteenth century.Opening of Suez Canal, Batum-Baku railway, telegraph lines, European capital outflow, Industrial RevolutionContact with West had repercussions.Economy dependent on world market fluctuationsExports reduced acreage available for domestic food; landowners stopped growing food and turned to commercial export crops.Led to disastrous famines in 1860, 1869–1872, 1880, and 1918– 1920Increased class awareness
45 POLITICAL ECONOMY AND DEVELOPMENT Iran in the Global EconomyIran became second most important member (after Saudi Arabia) of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) —Founded in by Iran, Venezuela, and Saudi Arabia, it now includes most oil- exporting states, with the notable exceptions of Mexico and former members of the Soviet Union. It tries to regulate prices by regulating production.Nixon encouraged allies to increase role in policing their regions.Kissinger argued for financing of oil imports with weapon exports.Allowed shah to expand reach to protect Iran’s interests and assist rebels
46 POLITICAL ECONOMY AND DEVELOPMENT Iran in the Global Economy (Cont’d)Military expenditures and oil exports tied Iran to industrial countries of West and Japan.Consequences of oil revenues paved way for Islamic Revolution.Programs widened class and regional divisions within dual society.Raised public expectations that were not metMade rentier state independent of societyIran needs new deep-drilling technology that can be found only in the West.This explains why regime is now eager to attract foreign investment and rejoin world economy.
47 POLITICAL ECONOMY AND DEVELOPMENT Iran in the Global Economy (Cont’d)Oil is the main engine driving state development and social modernization; thus Iran has been able to avoid resource curse.Resource curse—the concept that revenue derived from abundant natural resources, such as oil, often bring unforeseen ailments to countries.
48 SECTION 3 GOVERNANCE AND POLICY MAKING Organization of the StateIran’s political system is unique.Mixes theocracy and democracyTheocracy because religious clergy fill powerful political positionsDemocratic because high officials are directly electedIslamic constitution drawn up by Assembly of Religious Experts after 1979 revolutionAmended 1989 by Council for the Revision of the ConstitutionMixture of theocracy and democracyPreamble affirms belief in God, Qur’an, Prophet Muhammad, Twelve Imams, return of Hidden Imam, and doctrine of jurist’s guardianship.Declares that laws, institutions, state organizations must conform to “divine principles”
49 GOVERNANCE AND POLICY MAKING The ExecutiveThe Leader and Major Organizations of Clerical PowerConstitution named Khomeinito be Leader for life.Further described him as Leader of the Revolution, Founder of the Islamic Republic ,and Imam of Muslim communityIf no single leader named after his death, then authority would pass to council of senior clerics.Senior clerics were not trusted, so middle-ranking cleric, Ali Khamenei, was elected.Islamic Republic described as regime of ayatollahsReally regime of middle-ranking hojar al-Islams
52 GOVERNANCE AND POLICY MAKING The Leader and Major Organizations of Clerical Power (Cont’d)Constitution gives broad powers to LeaderLeader is vital link between branches of government.He can determine interests of Islam, supervise the implementation of policy, set political guidelines.Commander in chief and can declare war and peace, and convene Supreme Military CouncilCan eliminate presidential candidates and dismiss duly- elected president.Can grant amnesty.Nominates and removes judgesNominates six of twelve members of Guardian Council
53 GOVERNANCE AND POLICY MAKING The Leader and Major Organizations of Clerical Power (Cont’d)Constitution gives broad powers to Leader (Cont’d)Appoints Expediency CouncilExpediency Council—Committee set up in Iran to resolve differences between the Majles (parliament) and the Guardian Council.
54 GOVERNANCE AND POLICY MAKING The Leader and Major Organizations of Clerical Power (Cont’d)Leader also fills important nongovernment posts.Preachers (Imam Jum’ehs) at the main city mosques, director of the national television network, and the heads of the main religious endowments, especially the Foundation of the Oppressed.Imam Jum’ehs—Prayer leaders in Iran’s main urban mosques. Appointed by the Supreme Leader, they have considerable authority in the provinces.Foundation of the Oppressed—A clerically-controlled foundation in Iran set up after the revolution in Iran.
55 GOVERNANCE AND POLICY MAKING The Leader and Major Organizations of Clerical Power (Cont’d)Assembly of ExpertsElected to eight-year terms by the general publicMembers must have advanced seminary degreesHave power to dismiss Leader if he is found “mentally incapable”Has to meet once a year; deliberations are closedSecond chamber to Majles.
56 GOVERNANCE AND POLICY MAKING The Government ExecutivePresidential officeHighest official after LeaderElected every four years with two-term limitIf no majority in first round, then run-off between two candidates with most votesQualificationsMust be pious Shi’i,Must be faithful to principles of Islamic Republic,Must be Iranian origin,Between 25 and 75Demonstrate administrative capabilities
57 GOVERNANCE AND POLICY MAKING The Government ExecutivePresidential Powers:Conduct countries internal and external policiesIncludes signing all international treaties, laws, and agreementsChair the National Security CouncilDraw up the annual budget, supervise economic matters, chair the state planning and budget organizationPropose legislation to the MajlesAppoint cabinet ministersParliamentary stiplation that minister of intelligence (state security agency) must be from the ranks of the clergyOther senior officialsIran has no single vice president; president selects “presidential deputies”
58 GOVERNANCE AND POLICY MAKING The BureaucracyPresident heads bureaucracy.Ministries of Culture and Islamic GuidanceControls media and enforces public conductIntelligence (replaced SAVAK)Heavy IndustriesManages nationalized factoriesReconstructionMission is to build bridges, roads, schools, libraries and mosquesClergy dominate bureaucracy, as well.Monopolize most sensitive ministries and allocate others to relatives and protégés who appear to be highly trained technocrats, but are powerless
59 GOVERNANCE AND POLICY MAKING Other State InstitutionsThe JudiciaryAll laws must conform to shari’a.Enacted penal code, Retribution Law, based on narrow reading of shari’aModern educated lawyers resigned charging contradiction of United Nations Charter on Human RightsDivision and unequal treatment of male/female and Muslim/non- MuslimPractical experience led regime to broaden interpretation of shari’a.Permitted banks the giving and taking of interest
60 GOVERNANCE AND POLICY MAKING The MilitaryClergy control Iran’s armed forces.Includes regular army, Revolutionary Guard, and Mobilization of the Oppressed (Basej-e Mostazafin) volunteer militiaLeader is commander-in-chief and makes all key military appointments.Also places chaplains in military units to watch over officersTop ranks of military purged immediately after revolution.Built Revolutionary Guards as parallel force to regular armed forces
61 GOVERNANCE AND POLICY MAKING Subnational GovernmentIran is centralized, unitary state; divided into provinces, districts, subdistricts, townships, and villages.Per constitution, management of local affairs at each level is under supervision of directly elected councils ,elected by the local population.Conservative opposition prevented elections until 1999.Although liberals did well in first election, conservatives dominated in 2003.
62 GOVERNANCE AND POLICY MAKING Semipublic InstitutionsIslamic Republic semipublic institutions are called Foundations.Supposedly autonomous but directed by clerics appointed by LeaderFoundations are exempt from state taxes and are allocated foreign currencies, especially U.S. dollars at highly favorable exchange rates subsidized by oil revenues.Also receives annual subsidy from the government
63 GOVERNANCE AND POLICY MAKING The Policy-Making ProcessIranian policy-making process is diffuse, fluid and often reflects regime’s factional division.Laws can originate in diverse places, modified by numerous pressures, and blocked by variety of state institutions.Clerics who destroyed old order remained united as social stratum and cohesive political group.Believed they alone had divine mandate to governAfter constitution in place, some clerics drifted into two loose blocs:The Society (Majmu’eh) of the Militant ClergyThe Association populists, and latter as laissez-faire (free-market) conservatives.Reformers espoused creation of welfare state.Conservatives hoped to retain middle-class support; traditionalists.
64 GOVERNANCE AND POLICY MAKING The Policy-Making Process (Cont’d)Polarization of clerics created gridlock.Majles dominated by reformersGuardian Council controlled by conservativesBoth conservatives and reformers referred to the constitution to support their positions.Khomeini broke gridlock by referring to Sunni concept of maslahat.Maslahat —Arabic term for “expediency,” “prudence,” or “advisability.” It is now used in Iran to refer to reasons of state or what is best for the Islamic Republic.
65 GOVERNANCE AND POLICY MAKING The Policy-Making Process (Cont’d)Khomeini established Expediency Council for Determining the Public Interest of the Islamic Order—known as Expediency Council.Entrusted to resolve conflicts between Islamic Majles and Guardian CouncilComprised of 34 membersInstitutionalized via constitutional amendment after Khomeini’s deathLeader appointed members, determined term, and jurisdiction.Khamenei made meetings secret and empowered it to promulgate new laws.Currently a secretive supra-constitutional body accountable only to Leader; rivals Islamic Majles
66 SECTION 4 REPRESENTATION AND PARTICIPATION The LegislaturePer constitution, Majles “represents the nation”Authority to enact or change laws with approval of Guardian CouncilConstitution refers to qanun to avoid question of whether laws come from God or people.Guardian Council must agree qanun compatible with shari’a and constitution.Investigate at will cabinet ministers, affairs of state, and public complaints against the executive and the judiciaryApprove or oust cabinet via vote of no confidence (not president)Withhold approval for government budgets, foreign loans, international treaties, and cabinet appointments
67 REPRESENTATION AND PARTICIPATION Political Parties and the Party SystemCitizens guaranteed right to organize by constitutionInterior Ministry allowed to issue licenses to political parties per lawPolitical parties not encouraged until 1997Three important parties emerged.Islamic Iran Participation FrontIslamic Labor PartyBoth Islamic Iran Participation Front and Islamic Labor Party were formed by Khatami.Servants of Reconstruction created by former president and now chairman of the Expediency Council, Ali-Akbar Hashemi RafsanjaniOther important opposition groups are: The Liberation Movement, the National Front, the Mojahedin, the Fedayin, and the Tudeh.
68 REPRESENTATION AND PARTICIPATION ElectionsFree elections promised by constitutionIn practice, elections range from relatively free to controlled.Currently free of voter intimidation but choice highly constrainedMain obstacle in Guardian Council, with its power to approve candidatesIn 2004 reformers withdrew from active politics in deference to “national danger.”Resulted in crisis of legitimacy2009 election results unclear due to interference of government in tallying the vote
69 REPRESENTATION AND PARTICIPATION Political Culture, Citizenship, and identityIslamic Republic should be a highly viable state.Shi’ism is the religion of state and population as well as central component of popular culture.Constitution guarantees basic rights to recognized religious minorities, individual citizens, and non-Persian speakers.Baha’is and Sunnis not mentioned in constitutionBaha’is receive brunt of religious persecution, so many have emigratedSunnis subject to Shi’i controlsCreation of Republic of Azerbaijan may impact Azeri population in Iran.
70 REPRESENTATION AND PARTICIPATION Interests, Social Movements, and ProtestIslamic Republic repressive for first two decadesClosed media and organizations, banned demonstrations and public meetings; imprisoned citizens without due processTortured and executed political prisoners without due processTargeted Kurds, leftists,Aroused resentment among modern middle class (particularly intelligentsia), educated women, organized laborCollege students are strong political force.Educated women are major factor in society.Most important issues are work-related grievances: job security, pay scales, promotions, maternity leave, and access to professions.Factory workers dissatisfied with unemployment, economic inequality
72 SECTION 5 IRANIAN POLITICS IN TRANSITION Political Challenges and Changing AgendasIran faces an internal and external challenge.Internally: Islamic Republic still trying to synthesize theocracy and democracy.Conservatives appear to control politics but have lost public support.Challenged to maintain mass participation without sharing power with reformersRecent cultural revolution has exacerbated this challenge.Those who feel excluded from national politics are active in nongovernmental organizations to challenge system.Externally: the United States presents a challenge.Bush position increased existing international pressures.Conservatives used this to intimidate reformers.
73 IRANIAN POLITICS IN TRANSITION Iranian Politics in Comparative PerspectiveIran unlike most developing countriesOld state with many institutions dating back to ancient timesReligion that links elite with the masses, cities with villages, government with citizenryShi’ism and Iranian identity provides strong national identity.Democratic idea constrained by theocracyIslam can be interpreted to support or oppose democracyTheocracy originates from concept of jurist’s guardianshipFailure of democracy more a product of group of clericsIslamic Republic politics divided over how to govern economyRising economic demands, fluctuating petroleum revenues, oil wells may run dry