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Politics in Iran

Politics in Iran

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Politics in Iran

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  1. Politics in Iran A brief overview of the Iranian Revolution

  2. Iran Basics • Population • Persian, Azeri (Turkic), Kurdish, etc • Language(s) • Persian, etc • Religion: Shi’ism

  3. This and the map on the following slide from the Univ. of Texas map collection, http://www.lib.utexas.edu

  4. Iran prior to Revolution • Authoritarian monarchy • Harsh police rule, systematic torture • Forced “westernization” • Devaluation of the Ulama & Islam • US aid & oil revenue • patronage • The “White Revolution” • Large-scale industrial development, literacy, education, land reform Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlavi

  5. 1979 Iranian Revolution: Why • Rising popular opposition • Authoritarianism • Economic woes • Urban middle class suffering • Shah’s reliance on foreign experts • Cracks in the regime • US & NGO pressure • Moderate reforms • Crises • Economic recession • protest & suppression “The Shah had a lot of sympathy for the poor.” Cartoon by Iraj Zare; re-printed in Hassan Javadi's Satire in Persian Literature.

  6. Iranian Revolution: Who A. Khomeini Moderate, politicized Ulama Radical Ulama Bazaari merchants Theological students Urban workers Secular students Secular Urban Intellectuals Oil workers on strike, 1978.

  7. Post-revolution: competing visions 1st (early Revolution) Vision Moderate Constitutional Monarchy 2nd Vision Secular Republic -- respecting but not controlled by Shi’ism 3rd Vision: Theocracy-government of Ulama From Marjane Satrapi, Persopolis

  8. 1979 Iranian Revolution: How • Early days of protest & suppression • pamphlets,cassettes demonstrations • Violent suppression & continued resistance • Growing confrontation • Sept 8 1978 “Black Friday” in Tehran: wave of protests and violent suppression • Strikes, paralysis of Iranian economy, huge demonstrations, defections in the army • Jan. 1979 M. Reza Shah flees the country • Feb. 1: A. Khomeini returns to Iran Ayatollah Khomeini escorted by military officers upon his return to Iran. Photo from: http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/nsa/publications/iran/irbroch.html

  9. After the revolution • New Islamic republic (03/1979) • But what was an “Islamic Republic?” • Foreign crises • U.S. hostage crisis • Nov. 1979 • Iran-Iraq War,’80-’89 • 260,000 Iranians dead • Internal resistance & purges • 1981-82- internal conflict and suppression: 10,000 Iranians die Photo: http://www.iranian.com

  10. The new theocracy: changes & reforms • The new state: democracy & theocracy • Islamicization of law & governance • Economy: state control, privatization • 1988 and after: liberalization package • new privatization, reduction of govt subsidies, promotion of exports • oil still provides 40-50% of government income • New Sharia-based legal code • increasingly challenged in late 1980s • Cultural revolution • Social reforms • “Reconstruction Jihad”: Improved rural conditions • Improved education and public health • Rise in female literacy: 36% in 1976; 72% in 1996 • Grassroots primary health care • Better family planning: drastic reduction in birthrate after 1988

  11. One view of the Cultural Revolution From Marjane Satrapi, Persopolis