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Iran An Islamic Republic

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1 Iran An Islamic Republic

2 Ancient History Persia; part of different empires
4th century conquered by Alexander the Great Left structure in place Monarchy through 6th century Hereditary military leaders Islam spreads rapidly from 632 to 650 CE Through 11th century ruled by caliph Poli and religious figure) Caliphate defeated by Mongols in 13th century Dynastic rule from 16th to 20th century 2

3 Modern History Constitutional Revolution 1906
Constitutional monarchy with legis body 1925 Reza Khan becomes Shah (king) Modernizes: education, rail, conscription Represses: press, Majlis, political activists jailed 1941 Reza Khan ousted by SU/UK; son Reza Pahlavi becomes Shah

4 Modern History White Revolution 1963
Counter to “red” communists Land reform: govt bought from absentee owners, sold cheaply to farmers Encouragement of agricultural entrepreneurship Women’s rights expanded Suffrage Restricting polygamy Labor rights

5 Criticisms of White Revolution
Clergy opposed to reforms Suffrage for women; govt taking away power of religious leaders Charasmatic Khomeini exiled; began to promote idea of theocracy Landlords Unhappy abt redistribution of land; govt defending laborers Shah becomes more authoritarian Freedoms restricted Wealth from oil kept by Shah 5

6 Reforms led to growth of intelligentsia, urban working class, independent farmers
No feelings of loyalty to Shah; loyal to clerics Frustration with corruption Oil prices decrease ~10% in late 1970s Consumer prices rise about 20% Inflation, erosion of middle class Revolution of rising expectations standard of living improves, setback occurs, people revolt US pressures Shah to loosen restrictions on civil society Easing of restrictions allows people to feel free enough to join revolt

7 Iranian Revolution Reaction against modernization and repression by shah Fundamentalists encouraged by US, UK Khomeini still in exile Teachings promote overthrow of secular govt Shah attempts to discredit Khomeini, but this only strengthens his supporters

8 Iranian Revolution 1978 Unarmed demonstrators killed in Tehran
Oil workers strike Shah declares martial law 2 million ppl participate in anti-regime protests rallies are organized and led by clerics Shah flees to Egypt in Feb 1979 Khomeini returns from exile

9 Shah replaced by provisional govt
Khomeini returns to Iran in1979 Used charismatic power to gain control (Supreme leader) and implement a theocratic regime Suppresses all opposition Iran-Iraq War Iran: Attempt to spread Shiism Iraq: Seize territory Widespread destruction War ends w/o victor Khomeini dies

10 Basically... Shi’a clerics took dominant position in politics and nearly all aspects of Iranian life After fall of Pahlavi dynasty, urban upper class of prominent merchants, industrialists, and professionals, favored by the former monarch, lost standing and influence to the senior clergy and their supporters Urban working class, who allied with clergy, enjoyed enhanced status and economic mobility


12 Country Facts Slightly larger than Alaska 10% arable land
Mostly desert and mountains Ethnic groups: 51% Persian Religion: 89% Shi’a Muslim Languages: Farsi/Persian dialects 58% Literacy: 79%

13 Economy Per capita income: $11, 200 Unemployment rate: 14.6%
Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, coal Primary industry: petroleum, petrochemicals Exports: $78.7 bil (China, Japan, India) Imports: $58.9 (UAE, China, Germany) GDP: billion


15 Electorate Total population: 76 million
Universal suffrage when over 18 yrs 50% of voters are under 30 yrs old Voter turn out has decreased since 1997 due to disillusionment with elections

16 Majlis Unicameral 290 members, single member districts
Elected by popular vote every 4 yrs Introduce/pass laws All bill must by approved by Gaurdian Council Summon/impeach ministers or president 2000: Reformist majority 2004: Reformists banned

17 Majlis Members have to be Muslims but Constitution allows 5 members to represent Christians (3), Jews (1), and Zoroastrians (1)


19 President Second-highest ranking official Head of government
In reality, powers are circumscribed by clerics and Conservatives in Iran’s power structure and the authority of the Supreme Leader Candidates are vetted by Guardian Council

20 President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Elected in 2005 Reelected (disputed) in 2009 Conservative Former mayor of Tehran First president since 1981 who is not a cleric

21 Assembly of Experts 86 members, directly elected every 8 years
Appoint/remove Supreme Leader Exercises broad constitutional interpretation, along with Supreme Leader and Guardian Council Dominated by Conservatives 

22 Guardian Council 12 male clerics
6 appointed by Supreme Leader, 6 nominated by judiciary and approved by Majles Reviews bills passed by the Majlis to ensure compliance with Sharia law (can veto) Decide who competes in elections (can bar candidates) Controlled by Conservatives Reformists have tried to reduce vetting power unsuccessfully Council banned all but 6 candidates out of 1000 in the 2005 elections, Supreme Leader added 2 more All female candidates were blocked

23 Cabinet/Council of Ministers
Chosen by president Approved/impeached by parliament Supreme Leader has influence over process Cabinet is chaired by president or first vice-president

24 Supreme Leader Imam of the entire community –most powerful political figure Constitutional powers: Faqih: leading Islamic jurist to interpret religious texts and sharia law Links 3 branches of government together, may mediate among them Determines the interests of Islam Can eliminate pres candidates, dismiss pres, command armed forces, declare war/peace, appoint/remove major administrators and judges, nominate 6 members of Guardian Council, confirms the election results Chosen by Assembly of Experts Tension between Supreme Leader and President

25 Ayatollah Khamenei President from 1981-1989 Supreme Leader since 1989
Confidant of Khomeini

26 Expediency Council Referee over disputes between the Guardian Council and the Majlis Supreme Leader appoints its members prominent political, religious, social figures 2005: granted supervisory powers over all branched over govt, Supreme Leader delegated his power Chaired by former President Rafsanjani, who was defeated by Amadinejad

27 Jurist’s Guardianship
Velayat-e faqih Principle instituted by Khomeini Overarching authority of: Supreme Leader Guardian Council Assembly of Experts Expediency Council Authority based on ability to follow religious teachings and commitment to protect rights of people

28 Judiciary Until early 1900s controlled by clergy Then secularized
After Revolution, Supreme Court revoked all laws that were deemed un-Islamic Defines legal policy Nominated 6 lay members of Guardian Council Head of judiciary is appointed by Supreme Leader

29 Judiciary cont Shari’a law: Islamic law
Qanun: no sacred basis; can not contradict Shari’a law Judicial review does not exist other than review by Expediency Council, Assembly of Experts, and Guardian Council

30 Armed Forces Revolutionary Guard and regular forces
Under joint general command All commanders are appointed by Supreme Leader; report only to Supreme Leader Revolutionary Guard has powerful presence in other institutions and controls volunteer militas in every town 8th largest military in the world

31 Bureaucracy Huge, dominated by clergy
Plagued by clientelism, corruption, mismanagement, patronage Size doubled since 1979


33 Protests Despite guarantees of liberties in 1979 Constitution, govt has regularly: Suppressed newspapers, labor unions, private orgs, poli parties Executed political reformers or caused them to fleeBanned demonstrations and public meetings Recent protests following 2009 election of Ahmadinejad: Calls for the election to be annulled Dispersed with thousands of Revolutionary Guards and Basij Disputed death toll Use of social media to commuicate w/in Iran and w/ outside world

34 Ideological differences
Conservatives clerics; those arguing for stricter societal rules; support market-oriented policies; greater authority for Supreme Leader Pragmatists more accommodating on social issues; suprt economic liberalization/privatization Radicals support increased state control of economy to ensure greater social justice

35 Shi’a Islam Shi’a: supported Mohammed's son-in-law (Ali)
Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan Sunni: supported Mohammed’s father-in-law Sunni majority Twelver (hidden) Imam prophet successors to Muhammad 12th disappeared, believed to be alive, will return w/ Jesus Shari’a law Based on Koran, Sunnah (deeds, sayings of Muhammad) Northern Nigeria

36 Oil/Petropolitics Under Pahlavi, Iran transformed to rentier state:
state derives substantial portion of revenue from “rent” payments made by foreign countries/institutions rentier economy: heavily supported by state expenditure govt relies less on tax revenue Abt 50% of the economy is subject to central planning Cleavage between elites w/ close ties to oil $ and elites w/ close ties to clergy Instability of oil prices Due to massive wealth generated by oil, Iran shifts away from agriculture

37 Mass Media Many privately owned newspapers and magazines
Government has forced pro-Reform media outlets to shut down Highly educated elite Radio and TV, govt run: Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting

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