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Historical Development of Iranian Political Culture.

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Presentation on theme: "Historical Development of Iranian Political Culture."— Presentation transcript:

1 Historical Development of Iranian Political Culture

2 Geography of Iran Iran is located in the Middle East Large regions of Iran are unusable or unsuitable – Population centered in the northeast – Forced early Iranians to look outward (expansion & conquest) Oil has become a very important natural resource in the development of Iran Iran is roughly the size of Alaska…but cannot be seen from anyone’s house

3 Persian vs. Arab (1) Persian vs. Arab -Iranians are ethnically Persian not Arab. -Although heavily influenced by Arabs who brought Islam to Iran, still to today the Persian roots of Iran separate it from the rest of the Arab world. Uniqueness of Iran Arab League Member Nations in Green Iran is in orange – not a member of the Arab League

4 Islam - Shiite vs. Sunni (2) Islam - Shiite vs. Sunni -Islam was brought to Iran in the 7 th century C.E. Shiite -Iranians (90%) are Shiite (followers of Shia Islam) -Only about 10% of Muslims are Shia Muslims Imams -Shiites believe that Muhammad’s descendants known as “Imams” have special spiritual and political authority. Uniqueness of Iran Most Shiites live in Iran & Iraq and make up a majority of the population of those countries

5 (3) Theocracy vs. Secularization -Theocracy – a government ruled strictly by religion -Secularization – the belief that religion and government should be separated. -Iranian history shows an ebb and flow between theocratic and secular rule. -The only AP GAP country that is currently ruled as a theocracy. Uniqueness of Iran

6 1)Ancient Persia (550 B.C.E. – 330 B.C.E.) 2)Greek & Islamic Era (330 B.C.E. – 1501 C.E.) 3)Safavids (1501 C.E. – 1722 C.E.) 4)Qajars (1794 C.E. – 1925 C.E.) 5)Pahlavis (1925 C.E. – 1979 C.E.) 6)Iranian Revolution (1979 C.E.) 7)Islamic Republic of Iran (1979 C.E. – Present) Development of Iranian Political Culture

7 (1) Persian Empire (550 B.C. – 330 B.C.) -First large empire in world history -The Persians fought against the Greeks and were defeated by Alexander the Great (West vs. East) Political History of Iran Cyrus the Great ( B.C.) 1 st Persian Emperor

8 (2) Greek & Islamic Era (330 B.C.E. – 1501 C.E.) -Alexander the Great brought the Hellenistic Civilization to the former Persian Empire -In the middle of the 7 th century Arab Muslims conquerored Iran and brought Islam (Shia) with them. Political History of Iran Nike of Samothrace

9 (3) Safavids (1501 C.E. – 1722 C.E.) -1 st Iranian ruled government since the Persian Empire -Shah (monarchy) headed government. -Safavids claimed to be descendants of the 12 th Imam (Shia) -Practiced religious toleration of Sunnis & “People of the Book” (i.e. Jews & Christians) Political History of Iran Safavids Dynasty ended in 1722 when they were invaded by Afghan tribesmen. Ismail I – founder of the Safavid Dynasty

10 (4) Qajars (1794 C.E. – 1925 C.E.) -Qajars a Turkish people gain control over Iran -Capital city of Tehran -Retain Shia Islam as official religion -Couldn’t claim to be decedents of Imams, so Shiite clerics became main interpreters of Islam -Widening the separation of religion and government -Eventually Iranians became unhappy with government debt, lavish court costs, and foreign (western) influence. -Constitutional Revolution ( ) Iranians demanded greater influence in government & a ‘cleansing of leadership’ Political History of Iran Ahmad Shah Qajar

11 Constitution of 1906  Direct Elections  Monarchy with a separation of powers  Laws made by a powerful elected legislature  Popular sovereignty  Bill of Rights o Shia continued to be the official religion o Only Shiites could hold cabinet positions o Guardian Council – Shiite clerics who could veto any legislation. Political History of Iran

12 (5) Pahlavis (1925 C.E. – 1979 C.E.) -WWI further weakened the Qajars Reza Khan led a coup d'état and proclaimed himself shah Political History of Iran Reza Khan – commander of the Cossack Brigade; Shah of Iran ( )

13 Unpopular Pahlavi Shahs 1. Totalitarian, not just Authoritarian Rule -Controlled the banks, media, more sectors of the economy, etc. -Democratic thoughts were not forgotten – Pahlavi Shahs were challenged by communist & nationalist political movements. Political History of Iran

14 Unpopular Pahlavi Shahs 2. Ties to the West -Pahlavi leaders were very close with Western nations -Ex.) In 1951 Pahalvi Shah fled Iran due to popular support of a rival nationalist/communist movement, however the US & UK helped to re-install the Pahalvi Shah back to power. -Many Iranians saw Pahlavis as pawns to the West -Rentier State – states which derive all/substantial portion of their national revenue from the ‘rent’ of natural resources to external clients. -i.e. Oil to the West, 97% of Iranian exports Political History of Iran Mohammad Reza Pahlavi Emperor of Iran ( )

15 Unpopular Pahlavi Shahs 3. Iran became too Secularized -White Revolution – further secularized Iran; pro-Western -Seen as a counter to Communist/Red influences -Ex.) Extended voting rights to women, allowed women to work outside the home, restricted polygamy Political History of Iran Above: Iranian women in traditional Islamic burkas Right: Pahlavi shah appears very ‘Western’

16 Political History of Iran Pahlavi Side -Supports modernization -Secularization -Closer ties to the West Division Within Iran Traditional/Shia Ways -Ayatollah Khomeini charismatic vocal critic of the shah

17 Political History of Iran Division Within Iran Traditional/Shia Ways -Ayatollah Khomeini -Preached Islamic fundamentalism -Resented elite & the United States -Supported Jurist Guardianship – senior Shia clergy having authority over the entire Shia community

18 (6) Iranian Revolution (1979) -“The Spark” -Revolution of Rising Expectations – a political theory that says revolutions are most likely to occur when people are doing better than they once were, but then some type of set back occurs -Ex.) Late 1970s oil prices drop by 10%, while Iranian consumer prices increase by 20% Political History of Iran

19 Revolution of Rising Expectations Theory Political History of Iran

20 (7) Islamic Republic of Iran (1979 C.E. – Present) -On February 11, 1979 the shah flees Iran -April 1979 a national referendum votes out the shah and establishes the Islamic Republic -Cultural Revolution – aimed to purify the country of the shah’s regime, secular values, & western influence. Political History of Iran

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