Iran - Mrs. McMurray's Class Site - Home

Iran - Mrs. McMurray's Class Site - Home

Iran Its almost like theyre trying to be the bad guy. Sovereignty, Authority, and Power Existed sovereignly early on as the Achemenian Empire (called Persia by rival Greece) Centralized military leadership Set the stage for West vs. East themes in history Alexander the Great conquered both, but left

Persian political structure in place Kings acceded to the throne based on heredity State sponsored religion - Zoroastrianism Sovereignty, Authority, and Power Importance of Shiism Invaded by Arabs regularly from 7th through 16th centuries, bringing Islam to the region Religion became the glue holding Persians together

Shia/Sunni Divide (7th Century) Muhammad died without designating an heir Sunnis wanted the caliph to succeed (Caliphs were heads of the designated leadership, called the Sunni) Shiites wanted a hereditary heir of Muhammad to succeed (Muhammads son-in-law, Ali) Ali was killed, Shia became a minority, believing heirs of Ali (imams) were the true carriers of Islam 12th Decendent disappeared as a child, leading to the legend of a Hidden Imam will return to establish Islamic rule again Sovereignty, Authority, and Power

Modern Sources of Legitimacy Pahlavi Shahs of the 20th Century (1925-1979) Attempted secularization of the state Opposed by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini Revolution of 1979 Led by Khomeini to reestablish Islamic state

Constitution of 1979, plus amendments of 1989 Complex mixture of theocracy and democracy Affirms Quran, Muhammad, the Twelve Imams, and the Hidden Imam in the Preamble Qom and Jurist Guardianship Qom city south of Tehran where seminary clerics are based Jurist Guardianship idea that clergy has responsibility for all of Shia society Ayatollah Ruhollah

Khomeini Supreme Leader of Iran, 19791989 Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Supreme Leader of Iran, 1989Present Muhammad Khatami President of Iran, 1997-2005

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad President of Iran, 2005 2013 Hassan Rouhani President of Iran 2013 - Present Political Culture Authoritarian, but not totalitarian Union of political and religious authority Shiism and Sharia as central components of

the law The sharia Islamic law as expounded in the Koran Escape from European colonization (no real impact on Iran) Geographic limitations mostly unusable for agriculture, causing early Persians to conquer other lands Influence of ancient Persia Political and Economic Change

4 Eras: The Safavids (1501-1722) Safavid empire converted 90% of their subjects to Shiism Respected/tolerated other monotheistic People of the Book: Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians Lacked economic resources to exert full control, relied on local rulers to keep order Most clerics were outside the reach of the government, state fragmented by 1722

Political and Economic Change 4 Eras: The Qajars (1794-1925) Turks who conquered Persia long after an Afghan invasion ended the Safavid empire Moved capital to Tehran, kept Shiism as state religion Could NOT claim to be descendents of the Twelve

Imams (as Safavids had), leading to growth in separation of government and religion Sold oil drilling rights to many Western countries Political and Economic Change 4 Eras: The Qajars (1794-1925) Constitutional Revolution of 1905-1909

Shah had led the country into massive debt, but lived lavishly Business owners and bankers feared Shah would forgo paying domestic debts to repay European loans They demanded for a written Constitution, encouraged by the British who didnt think the Shah could put down a rebellion Political and Economic Change 4 Eras:

The Qajars (1794-1925) Constitution of 1906 Direct elections of a legislature (Majles) Bill of Rights guaranteeing equality under the law, criminal protections, freedom of expression Shiism still the state religion, with a Guardian Council of clerics that could veto any legislation of the Majles Political and Economic Change 4

Eras: The Pahlavis (1925-1979) Colonel Reza Khan carried out a coup against the state in 1921, becoming shah in 1925 Reduced power of Majles Turned over power to son, Muhammad Reza Shah in 1941 Opposed by communist Tudeh (masses) Party and National Front led by Muhammad Mosaddeq Iran

becomes a rentier state, collecting payments from Western countries for oil drilling rights Importance: government doesnt need to collect taxes to fund activities, thus, doesnt need the people! Colonel Reza Khan, a.k.a. Reza Shah Pahlavi Shah, 1925-1941 Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi Shah, 1941-1979 Mohammad

Mossadeq Prime Minister of Iran, 1951-1953 Political and Economic Change 4 Eras: The Pahlavis (1925-1979) White Revolution (1963)

Attempt to remove red (communist) influences Land reform government buys unused land, sells to small farmers at low prices Extended voting rights to women, restricted polygamy, allowed women to work outside the home The Resurgence Party and Pahlavi Foundation (1970s) Shah disbanded other parties, declared Iran a one-party state Replaced the Islamic calendar, and called himself Guide to the New Great Civilization and Light of the Aryans Creates a religious corps to teach peasants true Islam

Political and Economic Change 4 Eras: Islamic Revolution and the Republic (1979Present) Religiously motivated, results in a theocratic state Ingredients: Shah behaving as a totalitarian, not just authoritarian Shah secularized Iran too quickly against the will of the clergy Ties to the West offended nationalists and clergy

Charismatic leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini Quick drop in oil prices combined with high inflation in Iran Political and Economic Change 4 Eras: Islamic Revolution and the Republic (1979Present) National referendum in April 1979 voted to end the monarchy and establish an Islamic Republic

Assembly of Religious Experts (clerics directly elected by the people) chosen to draft a Constitution Approved in a plebiscite by 99% of voters Cultural Revolution purify the country of secular and Western values and behaviors Removed many professors from universities Executions in the name of revolutionary justice The Shah asked Iraq to deport Khomeini, so they sent him to Paris. Khomeini now had better access to the media and 2 million demonstrators strike and take to the streets of Tehran in

response to the Shahs ban on public demonstrations in 1978. Political and Economic Change One Theory on the Cause of the Revolution Theory of Rising Expectations As peoples standard of living rises, their expectation for future growth rises as well The gap between their expectations and reality can be tolerable, but become intolerable if actual standard of living drops

Political and Economic Change Post-Khomeini (1989-Present) Cementing of the powers of the clerics Rebound in oil prices, improved economy (government aid for housing and medical clinics) Invasion of Iraq in 1980-1989, people rallied behind government

Khomeinis charismatic authority Succession of Ali Khamenei Lacked charisma, academic credentials of Khomeini Drop in world oil prices Subsequent decades of conflict between reformists and conservatives Citizens, Society, and the State Cleavages

Religion Almost 90% Shia, 10% Sunni, around 1% either Jewish, Christian, Zoroastrian, or BahaI Constitution of 1979 recognizes and respects the rights of religious minorities, though Jews, Christians, and Bahai are often persecuted Constitution does not mention Sunnis Citizens, Society, and the State Cleavages Ethnicity

51% Persian, speaking Persian (Farsi) 24% Azeri, concentrated in the Northwest Shiia, but dont speak Farsi (Khamenei is Azeri) Fear of Iranian government that they may want to unite with Azerbaijan 7% Kurdish, 3% Arab (both Sunnis) Persian Arab

Azeri Kurdish Citizens, Society, and the State Cleavages Social class Peasantry and lower middle class support the regime, having benefited from its programs Middle and upper class people tend to be secularized and critical of the clerics Havent done well economically since the Revolution

Reformers vs. Conservatives Reformers want secularization, democracy, open relations with the West Conservatives want to preserve the clerical and sharia regime Civil Society Pre-Revolution people were dissatisfied with governments intrusion into private lives in civil society

Post-Revolution hasnt changed much! Many professionals leave the country Exception Tehran Spring under president Khatami (1997-2005) Cautious political liberalization, loosening of speech and press rights, friendlier stance to West Reversed by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Iran has a VERY young population! Regime encouraged large families in its first years

Goods were rationed per capita, making it better to have more children 60% under 30 Political Participation Post 1979 many newspapers, labor unions, private organizations, and political parties forced to close Protests and Demonstrations Banned, but still occur regularly in cities

and universities Most economic in nature, but 2009 election led to calls for democratization Political Participation Women and the Political System The Veil required in public by regime, symbolizes oppression to westerners, but not so much to Iranian women 20th century Iranian women have had better access to education than other Mid-East countries About

half of university students are women Law towards women is equality with difference sharia is interpreted to favor males in divorce and custody disputes cannot leave the country without the consent of male relatives Women are about 33% of the labor force Women rarely get elected to the Majles (4.1%) Linkage Institutions

Political Parties Constitution allows them, but government didnt until 1997 Highly unstable party system, changes around personalities, but in the last election: Alliance of Builders of Islamic Iran Ahmadineja ds conservative, populist party Green Movement (not an official political party) formed around Mir-Hossein Mousavi (was an independent candidate) in the aftermath of the

perceived stolen election Many other minor competitors in presidential and Majles elections Mir-Hossein Mousavi Candidate for President, 2009 Leader of the Green Movement Prime Minister of Iran, 19811989 Muhammad Khatami

President, 19972005 Leader of Iranian Militant Clerics Society, withdrew from race to back Mousavi Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani President of Iran, 1989-1997 Chairman of the Expediency Council, 1988Present Chairman of the

Assembly of Experts, 2007Present Pragmatic conservative, tense relationship with Ahmadinejad Linkage Institutions Elections Suffrage for all over 18 to vote for president, Majles, and Assembly of Experts Majles is a first-past-the-post plurality system, no PR

Presidential is a 2-round majority system Interest Groups Tough to draw the line between these and parties in Iran Labor is organized, but business is not, given that government controls 65-80% of the economy Linkage Institutions Mass Media

1981 Majles passed a law making it a crime to use pen and speech against the government Restrictions lifted from time to time, but reimposed when demonstrations pose a problem to the regime Government owns radio and television broadcasting, but newspapers and magazines are typically privately owned State Institutions Political system fuses theocracy and

democracy in a unitary state Theocratic Institutions: Supreme Leader Guardian Council Expediency Council Democratic Institutions: Assembly of Religious Experts Majles President State Institutions

Supreme Leader Chosen by Assembly of Religious Experts (only tested once, in 1989) The faqih leading Islamic jurist to interpret religious documents and the sharia Powers Eliminate presidential candidates Dismissal of the president Commander of the armed forces Declares war and peace Appoints many administrators and judges Nominates up to 6 members to Guardian Council

Appoints heads of other agencies, like broadcasters Head of State with real power Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Supreme Leader of Iran, 1989Present State Institutions Guardian Council

12 male clerics 6 appointed by Supreme Leader 6 nominated by Chief Judge, approved by Majles Review bills passed by Majles to ensure they comply with the sharia May disqualify candidates for election as part of their jurist guardianship (along with Supreme Leader) State Institutions Assembly

of Religious Experts 86 men elected by the people every 4 years Use to only allow clerics, but requirement eliminated in 1998 Candidates Council may still be rejected by Guardian With Supreme Leader and Guardian Council, in charge of constitutional interpretation Choose a successor to the Supreme Leader, and may remove him as well

Chairman is currently Hashemi Rafsanjani State Institutions Expediency Council Created by Khomeini to referee disputes between Guardian Council and Majles Started smaller, has grown to 32 members Has gained the power to originate legislation Collection of the most powerful men in Iran, including: High ranking clerics

President Chief Judge Speaker of Majles Members of the Guardian Council Also headed by Rafsanjani Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani President of Iran, 1989-1997 Chairman of the Expediency Council, 1988Present Chairman of the

Assembly of Experts, 2007Present Pragmatic conservative, tense relationship with Ahmadinejad State Institutions President

and Cabinet Head of government Elected every 4 years by voters, may serve 2 terms Constitution requires him to be a pious Shiite Powers Devise the budget Supervise economic matters Propose legislation to the Majles Executing the law/policies Signs treaties and laws Chairs the National Security Council Appoints cabinet and other provincial officials

State Institutions Bureaucracy Expanded rapidly to create places for college graduates to work (size doubled since 1979) Examples of new ministries: Culture and Islamic Guidance censures the media Intelligence chief security organization Heavy Industry manages nationalized factories Reconstruction spreads Islam to the countryside

Dominated by clergy and their relatives State Institutions Semi-Public Institutions (Foundations) Autonomous, but run by appointees of the Supreme Leader Tax exempt, though they bring in HUGE amounts of money Own property confiscated from pre-1979 elite Use wealth to do charitable work to build

regime support State Institutions Legislature The Majles Unicameral, though the Assembly of Religious Experts seems to function as an upper house 290 seats directly elected by the people in SMD plurality elections Powers Pass laws with approval of Guardian Council

Interpret legislation, without contradiction of judiciary Approve 6 members to Guardian Council nominated by Chief Judge Investigate misconduct of bureaucracy and judiciary Remove cabinet officials (not the president) Approve the budget, cabinet, treaties, and loans After reformist success in 2000 election, Guardian Council banned most reformists from running in 2004 State Institutions Judiciary Types of law in Iran

Sharia Islamic law, supersedes all other laws, chiefly interpreted by Supreme Leader Qanun No sacred basis, just statutes made by legislative bodies (Majles, for example) Must not contradict sharia No judicial review legal authority is not in the constitution, but in interpretation of sharia Appeals system is in place, but Khomeini argued spirit of sharia was for local judges to make final decisions in most cases Sharia dictates harsh punishments (death) for a wide variety of crimes, but Islamic Republic has

softened the use of these over the years State Institutions Military Revolutionary Guard created by Khomeini to counter the Shahs existing regular army, navy, and air force Strong political influence, increasingly independent Army defends the borders, Revolutionary Guard protects the Islamic Republic

All commanded by Supreme Leader, who appoints top commanders 8th largest military in the world Other Stuff You Should Know Divide in Qom seminary city where Khomeini began denouncing Shah Many clerics believe the union of politics and religion should not occur until the appearance of the 12th Imam (and thus oppose the theocracy)

Economics is for donkeys quote by Khomeini dismissing the importance of the economy for policymakers

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