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Iran: Public Policy. Evan Feinberg. Overview. Policymaking factions Conservative vs. Reformist Statists vs. Free Marketers Importance of Qom Economic Issues Environmental Issues Foreign Affairs. Activity: Nuclear Energy Debate!. Policy Making Process (Review).

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iran public policy

Iran: Public Policy

Evan Feinberg

  • Policymaking factions
    • Conservative vs. Reformist
    • Statists vs. Free Marketers
  • Importance of Qom
  • Economic Issues
    • Environmental Issues
  • Foreign Affairs
  • Activity: Nuclear Energy Debate!
policy making process review
Policy Making Process (Review)
  • Laws can originate in many places, not just in the legislature
  • Policies can be blocked by other state institutions
  • Policies are subjected to change depending on factional control
  • The two most powerful policy making institutions:
    • 1. The Majles
    • 2. The Guardian Council
  • The main tension in the political system is between moderate reformers and the conservative clergy
policy making factions
Policy Making Factions

Conservative vs. Reformist

  • Conservatives uphold the principles of the regime as set up in 1979
  • Against modernization
    • See it as a threat to the tenets of Shi’ite ideals that provide the moral basis of society
  • Believe that political and religious decisions should be one and the same
  • Reformists believe that the political system needs significant reform
  • Advocate international involvement with countries in the west
  • Support the idea of separation of church and state

Policy Making Factions

Conservative vs. Reformist

Ali Khamenei

Mohammad Khatami

notable figures of the iran reformist movement
Notable figures of the Iran Reformist Movement

Ahmad Zeidabadi (imprisoned)

Mohsen Sazegara (imprisoned, later released)

AbdolfattahSoltani (imprisoned)

AbdollahNouri (imprisoned)

AlirezaNoori (died suspiciously)


Ali Akbar MousaviKhoeini (imprisoned)

Hashem Aghajari (imprisoned, sentenced to death, commuted to imprisonment and probation)

Ayatollah JalaluddinTaheri(died)

EbrahimYazdi (imprisoned)

Mohammad Ali Abtahi (imprisoned)


AlirezaAlavitabar (facing charges)

NikahangKowsar (imprisoned, later released)

EbrahimNabavi (imprisoned, later released)

AbdollahNouri (imprisoned, later released)

Ahmad Batebi (imprisoned, sentenced to death, commuted to 10 years imprisonment)

Hassan YousefiEshkevari (imprisoned)

Ahmad Ghabel (imprisoned, sent to exile)

EzzatEbrahim-Nejad, (shot dead by security forces)

Mir-HosseinMousavi (kidnapped, house arrest in an unknown location)

Mehdi Karroubi (kidnapped, house arrest in an unknown location)

Zahra Rahnavard (kidnapped, house arrest in an unknown location)

Mohammad Khatami

Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri (died)

Saeed Hajjarian (attempted assassination, imprisoned)

Hadi Khamenei

AbdolkarimSoroush (sent to exile, expelled from University)

MasoudBehnoud (imprisoned)

Akbar Ganji (imprisoned, released)

Ahmad AzariQomi (died suspiciously)

EzzatollahSahabi (died)

Ali Shakeri (imprisoned, released)

AtaollahMohajerani (Exiled in England, resigned his post)

Reza Khatami

Akbar Mohammadi (imprisoned, sentenced to death, murdered)

Abbas Abdi (imprisoned)

ElahehKoulaei (facing charges)


AlirezaRajaei (imprisoned)

policy making factions1
Policy Making Factions

Statists vs. Free-Marketers

  • Statists believe that the government should take an active role in controlling the economy
    • Redistributing the land and wealth
    • Eliminating unemployment
    • Financing social welfare programs
    • Price control on consumer goods
  • Free-Marketers want to remove price controls, lower business taxes, encourage private enterprise, and balance the budget. (similar to the U.S.)
  • Legitimacy of the modern Iranian Theocracy has its roots in Qom
    • Where Khomeini began to denounce the shah, and where he set up his government after returning from exile
    • City of seminaries and scholars that define the foundation of Iranian society
      • Where the velayat-e-faqih was written, framing the factionalist debate in politics
economic issues
Economic Issues
  • Ayatollah Khomeini “Economics is for donkeys”
economic issues oil
Economic Issues: Oil
  • Rentier state
    • dependent on the natural resource
    • 150 billion barrels of fuel reserves
  • Oil has created a vertical divide in the society, between the elites
    • One side are elites with close ties to the oil state, but on the other is the traditional sector of the clergy
  • Fluctuations in the price of oil has caused periods of economic recession as well as economic prosperity
    • In the early 1980s, the prices plunged, rebounded, and then dropped again in the 1990s
economic issues social welfare
Economic Issues: Social Welfare
  • After the Revolution, the Republic made it a high priority
    • Educational opportunities for women expanded
    • Losses of medical personnel were replaced
  • In 2010, the government ended many economic subsidies, especially those encouraging people to waste precious resources
    • Allowed prices of oil, gas, and electricity reach market levels
    • The price of gas went up 75%; the price of diesel went up over 2000%
    • The government offers monthly cash transfers to families to keep people from resisting the changes
environmental issues
Environmental Issues
  • Iran suffers from deforestation, desertification, water contamination, and urban air-pollution
  • Air Pollution: particularly bad in Tehran because the mountains help keep the pollution in the city
    • Due to the large number of old diesel-fueled vehicles
  • No incentive to develop alternative energy because of the cheap, subsidized oil
foreign affairs
Foreign Affairs
  • Recently, Iran has become more globalized and increased its international presence
  • Although Iran has become more involved in international activities, the stance that the Iranian government takes is to defend Iran against the rest of the world
    • Reinforces the historical view of Iran being an isolated country
    • Tried to join international organizations but has been denied membership because of the difficulties of making foreign investments within the country's borders
    • important international membership is OPEC
nuclear energy background
Nuclear Energy Background
  • Iran’s nuclear program goes back many decades, but this program has been under serious scrutiny by western nations since the attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001
  • In August of 2002, two secret nuclear sites were revealed
    • These sites demonstrated that Iran was building nuclear arms in violation of international treaties
    • The international Atomic Energy Agency, The UN’s nuclear watch dog, has become increasingly frustrated with Iran for not abiding by specific guidelines in many cases
nuclear energy background1
Nuclear Energy Background
  • Much debate has circled Iran’s emergence of a nuclear program
  • As of mid-February, the visit of the international nuclear inspectors failed in Iran
    • Tehran blocked access to suspected testing site and refused to answer questions about the military use of their nuclear program
    • Increased tensions on the world stage
      • Though they claim that the program is for peaceful purposes only, the West remains skeptical that it may be inching toward weaponry purposes
    • Putin claims that Russia was alarmed by the growing threat of an attack on Iran for it’s nuclear program, believing it would disturb world peace and the U.S. and NATO should be wary to meddle
activity nuclear energy debate
Activity: Nuclear Energy Debate
  • Question: Should Iran be allowed to enrich uranium to build nuclear power plants?
  • Role Play in groups of four
    • Iran
    • Israel
    • Syria
    • United States
  • Whole Class Discussion