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  • 1. Comparative Politics
    • Islamic Republic of Iran
    • PoliSci Department
    • SUNY @ Stony Brook
    • POL 103 (Section 2)
    • Spring 2005
    • Instructor: Udi Sommer
  • 2. Geography - Borders
    • East - Pakistan (909km of border) and Afghanistan (936km)
    • Northeast - Turkmenistan (1000km)
    • North - the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan (500km) and Armenia (35km)
    • West - Turkey (500km) and Iraq (1458km)
    • South - Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman
  • 3. Political history
    • World War I
    • British interests in the Middle East (oil)
    • Iranian oil company is founded
    • Reza Khan – a modernizing tyrant with nationalist tendencies (builds roads, railways, unversities, student exchange)
    • Unpopularity at home, and suspicion he might join the Nazis abroad, lead to his fall
  • 4. Political history
    • Role during World War II
    • Following WWII – heavy Soviet involvement in northern Iran.
    • Marks the beginning of the Cold War
    • Shah is replaced by his son under British influence
    • Hopes that Iran would be a constitutional monarchy
  • 5. Political history
    • Politics quickly becomes unstable
    • Mussadegh rises to power
    • Initiates nationalization of oil industry
    • CIA makes efforts to depose Mussadegh
    • Under British and American influence the Shah forces Mussadegh from office.
    • Profits of oil company are shared evenly with foreign nations
  • 6. The White Revolution
    • White as opposed to the Bolshevik revolution in Soviet Union which was red
    • A revolution from above
    • Shah wants to win progress economically and socially.
  • 7. Elements of the Reform
    • Importing western economic ideas
    • Massive government financed heavy industries
    • Land reform
    • Women’s rights
    • Investment in education
  • 8. Problems
    • No increase in democratic representation
    • Corruption
    • Not enough land to allow farmers to make their living
    • Shiite clergy displeased with reduction of their influence in education
    • Creates a major division in Iranian politics (reality in villages and reality in big cities)
  • 9. 2 types of opposition to the Shah
    • From the middle class – aspiring to establish a constitutional monarchy.
    • Opposition from religious sects – despise reforms and the White Revolution, and perceive the Shah to be an American puppet.
  • 10. Ayatollah Khomeini
    • Leader of opposition to the Shah.
    • Exile
    • Turkey, Iraq, Paris
    • Organizes a broader populist movement, using recorded speeches on cassettes, and through mosques.
    • In 1978 it is the Islamic groups rather than the middle class that rally masses against the Shah.
  • 11. Key elements of Iranian constitution
    • Establish and facilitate people’s ability to live Muslim life
    • Opposes monarchy
    • Relations with non-Islamic groups
    • Supervision by Islamic judges
    • Representation of minorities
    • Islamic Supreme Leader
    • Foreign policy – independence from USA and the Soviet Union.
  • 12. The Constitution – its elements
    • Shiia Islam –official religion.
    • The Supreme Leader:
    • Head of state
    • Elected and (potentially) deposed by Assembly of Experts
    • Appoints the 6 religious members of the Council of Guardians.
    • May dismiss president.
  • 13. The Constitution – its elements
    • The President:
    • Universal suffrage
    • 4 year terms
    • Appoints and supervises Council of Ministers.
    • Coordinates government
    • Selects policies
    • Council of Guardians screens candidates to the job.
  • 14. The Constitution – its elements
    • The parliament – the Majles
    • Direct and secret ballot
    • All its legislation is reviewed by the Council of Guardians
    • No members of parliament are members of any of the councils or vice versa.
  • 15. The Constitution – its elements
    • The Guardian Council of the Constitution
    • Authority to interpret constitution
    • Constitutional review of laws
    • Not a legislative body, but a power to veto.
    • Composed of 6 Islamic clerics (selected by the Supreme Leader), and 6 memebers who are lawyers.
    • Does not change with a change in Supreme Leader position
  • 16. The Constitution – its elements
    • The Assembly of Experts:
    • Selects Supreme Leader
    • Supervises the activities of the Supreme Leader
    • Popularly elected
    • Currently this is a conservative stronghold and thus considered a threat to the reform movement
  • 17. The Constitution – its elements
    • The Expediency Council
    • Resolves legislative issues that Majles and Council of Guardians fail to agree upon
    • Advises Supreme Leader on matters of national policy
    • Oversees important policies
    • Functions as a cabinet of Supreme Leader
  • 18. The Constitution – its elements
    • Judicial Authority
    • Vested in the Head of the Judiciary, who is appointed by the Supreme Leader
    • As an administrative position a Minister of Justice is appointed by the president
    • Supervises enforcement of laws.
    • Establishes judicial and legal policies
  • 19. The constitution – institutional arrangement Supreme Leader Assembly of Experts Armed Forces Judic ial Authority Expediency Council Council of Guardians 6 Religious Members 6 Lawyers Majles (The Parliament) Council of Ministers President voters Key - supervise - advise - approval
  • 20. Economy
    • 3 components:
    • State economy
    • Cooperative economy
    • Private economy
    • Growth since revolution has slowed (due to revolution, war, oil price, management, inability to establish market economy)
  • 21. Latest developments
    • Reformers in the Majles and presidency
    • Conservatives in the Council of Guardians and the Expediency Council
    • Effects of War in Iraq, war in Afghanistan, and ‘Axis of Evil’
    • Relations with Turkey
  • 22. Final comments
    • The importance of the geographical location to the centrality of Iran in world affairs – consequential to domestic politics (e.g. relations with the USA).
    • The level of democracy – some democratic features, defined as a non-democracy