Poli330 Chap12 Iran

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Iran

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Poli330 Chap12 Iran

  1. 1. Islamic Republic of Iran Chapter 12
  2. 2. Basic Facts <ul><li>Capital: Tehran </li></ul><ul><li>Size: slightly larger than Alaska </li></ul><ul><li>Population: 68,017,860 </li></ul><ul><li>Religious affiliation: Shi’a Muslim 89%; Sunni Muslim 9%, other 2% </li></ul><ul><li>Political system: mix of democracy and theocracy (rule of the clergy) headed by a cleric with the title of the Leader </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Regime history: Islamic Republic since 1979 revolution </li></ul><ul><li>Administrative structure: centralized administration with 30 provinces. Provincial governors appointed by interior minister </li></ul><ul><li>Executive: President and cabinet. President elected by population every four years. Current president: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (since 2005) </li></ul><ul><li>Legislature: Unicameral. Majles – now 290 seats – elected every four years. Bills passed do not become law until approved by Council of Guardians (chief cleric known as Leader ) </li></ul><ul><li>Ruling clergy restricts parties & organizations </li></ul>
  4. 4. Critical Junctures <ul><li>The Safavid – 1501-1722 </li></ul><ul><li>Qajar 1794-1925 </li></ul><ul><li>Pahlavi dynasty 1925-1979 </li></ul><ul><li>Revolution of 1979- established current Islamic Republic </li></ul>
  5. 5. The Safavid Dynasty <ul><li>Forcibly converted subjects to Shi’ism – distinct from neighboring Sunni powers (Ottomans, Uzbeks, Afghans) </li></ul><ul><li>Safavid rulers – tolerated religious minorities (Jews, Zoroastrians, Christians) if they paid special taxes and accepted rulers’ authority </li></ul><ul><ul><li>According to Islam, these tolerated as People of the Book (mentioned in Qur’an and had own sacred texts – Bible, Torah, Avesta) </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>In theory, Safavids claimed absolute power </li></ul><ul><li>In reality, power limited – lacked central state and forced to deal with semi-independent local leaders </li></ul>
  7. 7. Islam – Shi’i & Sunni <ul><li>Islam – second largest religion in world – 1 billion adherents </li></ul><ul><li>Means “submission to God” </li></ul><ul><li>One central tenet – “There is only one God, and Muhammad is His Prophet”, and… </li></ul><ul><li>Four duties: (all five make up Five Pillars of Wisdom) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Give to charity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pray every day facing Mecca (Abraham built first place of worship) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pilgrimage to Mecca – at least once </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fast during Ramadan - daytime </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>Divided in two branches - differ over who should have succeeded Muhammad (d. 632) </li></ul><ul><li>Sunni – “followers of tradition” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Majority worldwide </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ruled by caliphs (Prophet’s Deputy) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Shi’i – “partisans of Ali” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Less than 10% of Muslims worldwide – Iran, southern Iraq, Bahrain, E. Turkey, S. Lebanon </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Argued Muhammad’s legacy went through son-in-law Imam Ali – who passed it on to male heirs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Known as the Twelvers – follow Twelve Imams – the Twelfth is known as the Hidden Imam (Messiah) – herald end of world </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Power – senior clerical scholars - Ayatollahs </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. The Qajars <ul><li>Safavid dynasty collapsed 1722- Afghan tribesmen invaded </li></ul><ul><li>Half-century of civil war – until Qajars (Turkic tribe) won </li></ul><ul><li>Capital established – Tehran </li></ul><ul><li>Shi’ism – state religion </li></ul><ul><li>New Shahs (kings) – did not pretend to be descendants of imams </li></ul><ul><li>European imperialism affected in 19 th c </li></ul>
  10. 10. Pahlavi Dynasty <ul><li>Colonel Reza Khan – 1921 – military coup – became Shah </li></ul><ul><li>First nontribal dynasty to rule Iran </li></ul><ul><li>During WWII – British & Soviets invaded Iran to stop Nazi Germany </li></ul><ul><li>Reza Shah abdicated – son Muhammad Reza Shah </li></ul><ul><li>Confronted two political movements </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Communist Tudeh (masses) party – supported by working class trade unions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>National Front – led by Muhammad Mossadeq </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>Mosaddeq sought to sever Shah’s links with armed forces </li></ul><ul><li>Argued monarch should reign – not rule </li></ul><ul><li>Elected prime minister </li></ul><ul><li>Nationalized oil industry </li></ul><ul><li>1953 – royalist officers staged coup </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Overthrew Mossadeq </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Installed Shah absolute power </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Coup financed by American CIA </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shah then ruled autocratically until 1979 </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>Under the Shah </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Oil boom in 1970s – Iran became major player in international politics – became second most important member of OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Women enjoyed more freedoms – right to vote </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Literacy Corps – eradicated literacy in countryside </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Expansion of health & human services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>BUT – regime oppressive – economic difficulties & international pressures about human rights violations …helped lead to… </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Islamic Revolution – 1979-2001 <ul><li>Exiles denounced Shah and family - charged with military dictatorship, collaboration with CIA, fascist one-party state </li></ul><ul><li>Leading anti-shah cleric – Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini – new version of Shi’ism </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Labeled Islamic fundamentalism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Religious dogmatism </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Political traditionalism </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Social conservatism </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Literal interpretation of scripture </li></ul></ul></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>Ayatollah Khomeini – declared Imam and Leader of new Islamic Republic (after Shah left Iran) – considered to have special gift from God – ruled until death in 1989 </li></ul><ul><li>97% of eligible voters – supported new Islamic Republic </li></ul><ul><ul><li>But voters intimidated by vigilantes known as Hezbollahis (Partisans of God) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Theocratic constitution created – Khomeini given great authority </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>Khomeini died 1989 – after Iran-Iraq war ended in 1988 (Iraq had invaded Iran in 1980) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>War made people and military war-weary </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Successor – Ali Khamenei – lacked charisma of former leader </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Initial Drop in oil prices ($10 a barrel by 1998!) – threatened economy - but now rebounded </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Continuing dichotomy of democracy & theocracy (under Islam) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Some clerics openly admit religion does not have answers to inflation, unemployment & volatility of world oil </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New “cold war” with U.S. </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Iran’s Assets <ul><li>Major power in Middle East </li></ul><ul><li>One of region’s largest armies – largest navy in Persian Gulf </li></ul><ul><li>Large land mass </li></ul><ul><li>Considerable human resources </li></ul><ul><li>Vast oil production – respectable gross domestic product (GDP) </li></ul>
  17. 17. Iran’s Challenges <ul><li>Historically, a dual society </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Modern sector – headed by elites, close ties to oil state </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Traditional – clergy, middle class, rural masses </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Now Two major challenges </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Internal challenge is theocracy vs. democracy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Failed to establish a full-fledged democracy </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Clergy control most powerful political positions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>However, president and some high officials elected directly by public – current president controversial </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Educated women now major factor in Iranian society – 54% of college students, 45% of doctors. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>Major external challenges– especially from U.S. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>President Bush named Iran as part of “Axis of Evil” – openly called for regime change </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>U.S. increased pressure on Iran: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Denied diplomatic relations with U.S. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Barred Iran from WTO </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Accuses Iran of sabotaging Arab-Israeli peace process </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Accuses of Iran helping terrorist organizations – Hamas in Palestine & Hezbollah in Lebanon </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Accuses of violating democratic & human rights </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Highlighting dangers of weapons of mass destruction </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Pressure increased because of U.S. occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Iran’s militancy has alarmed neighboring secular Islamic states – Turkey, Azerbaijan, Tadzhikistan – but this has improved </li></ul></ul></ul>

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