Iran • Mostly arid plateau around 4,000 ft. • 67,000,000 population • 31% under age 15 • 66.4% urban • 2nd largest oil exporter within OPEC • 51% Persian, 24% Azeri, 7% Kurd • 89% Shia Muslim • $7000 GDP per capita • 16% Unemployment • Life expectancy 69.3 • 72% Literacy • 4.1% women in the Majlis • No separation of powers among Supreme Leader, Guardian Council, Assembly of Religious Experts, and Expediency Council • Theocracy—rule by religion • Has some democratic elements—popular sovereignty, separation of powers, individual rights, elections • RENTIER STATE—a country that obtains lucrative income (most of its revenue) by exporting a raw material like oil or leasing out a natural resource
Problems Faced by Rentier States • Resource could be depleted • Lack of diversification in local economy—nothing else is developed • Dependence on world market causes price fluctuations/instability. Economy can fail due to price fluctuations. • Income inequality is exacerbated • No incentive to modernize/industrialize • Increased opportunity for corrupt usage of income from rents • Lack of accountability to citizens since no tax system required—citizens have no voice/diminished civil society • No foreign direct investment
Iranian History 1501-1925 • 1501-1722 Safavid Dynasty rules Iran, coverts most from zoroastrianism to Shi’ism, makes it state religion, introduces Majles. 1722 invasion ends reign • 1794-1925 Qajar Dynasty rules (1) 1st try to reconstruct theocracy (2) 2nd try to achieve modernization (western style) (a) economy (similar to ISI) (b) reorganize the military (c) reform the bureaucracy
1906 Constitutional Revolution under Qajars • An experiment with democracy based on Belgian/British model (elections, separation of powers, elected legislature, popular sovereignty, Bill of Rights guaranteeing equality, freedom of expression) • The revolution was an attempt to modernize Iran • Prompted largely by changes sparked by modernization • Result was a constitutional monarchy • Only Shia could hold offices • Reza Shah comes to power through the Coup d’etat of 1921—democracy had crumbled into squabbling, authoritarian state
Rule of Reza Shah/Pahlavi Rule Reza Shah’s objectives a. state led capitalism (German style) b. modernize and reform Iran c. restrict the power of the clergy and aristocracy d. build strong economy through cultural engineering (1) change dress style to western (2) promote secular values (3) make popular culture compatible with requirements and goals of development Reza Shah’s accomplishments a. eliminated hereditary privilege b. did away with titles and asked people to select family names c. Took telegraph away from British control d. built roads & infrastructure e. built a railway from the Caspian Sea to the Persian Gulf f. establish secular, public schools and changed name to Iran g. reduce clerical authority h. 1935 abolished veil for women and encouraged both men and women to adopt European dress i. RENTIER STATE—dependent on other states for its income, heavily supports state expenditures j. Import substitution industrialization
1940s-1960s History • Reza Shah Pahlavi is forced to abdicate during WW II in favor of his son, Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlavi • 1956: PM Muhammad Mossadegh comes to power, nationalizes oil industry. Leads a party called the “National Front” • US and British intelligence services overthrow Mossadegh and restore the Shah
The White Revolution (1963) The Shah announced a program for reforms that were popularly endorsed: • land redistribution • nationalization of the forests • sale of shares in government owned factories to underwrite land reforms • sharing of factory profits with workers • electoral reform • enfranchisement of women • creation of a literacy corps • Revolution countered “RED” influences • Majles became a rubber stamp • Iran became a corporatist state with patron-client relationships embedded
The Islamic Revolution of 1979 • Despite successes (real or perceived) of the White Revolution, rumblings of discontent could be heard in Iran as early as 1963 • Severe economic and social dislocations from White Revolution • Shah had ruled using imprisonment and death for insurgents • Perceived as totalitarian, Carter pushed for openness=disaster • Khomeini was charismatic opposition leader-- a real option • Government corruption was severe • Shia clergy provided an outlet for protest • Secularized too quickly • Patron-clientelism did not include interest group input, so corporatism never developed • In 1979 the Shah fell, leaving the country in January 1979.
3 Oddities of 1979 Revolution • The 1st Revolution in which the dominant ideology, forms of organization, and leadership cadres were religious in form and aspiration • This revolution was the first contemporary revolution in which a theocracy was established (modern revs were all AGAINST state and church) • Only modern social revolution in which the peasantry and rural guerillas played A MARGINAL ROLE • It was a classic J-curve revolution: declining oil prices and 20% inflation dented economic growth led to DISCONTENT—EXPECTATIONS NOT MET
How the Revolution Happened • The Revolutionary Coalition: • Urban poor: especially former rural dwellers who experienced the cultural chasm between tradition and modernity • Moderate middle classes that want political freedoms • Leftists • Bazaar merchants (controlled broad networks—could bring commerce to a standstill) • The clergy: had solid communication networks, financial independence, credibility from decades of opposition to Shah • ARMED FORCES WERE “NEUTRAL” • 99% of people voted to endorse new Constitution written by “Assembly of Religious experts.” (75% voted)
The Khomeini Government 1979-1988 Institution of the Islamic State 1) Khomeini accomplishments -centralize the role of the state -set up a Marxist economy -adopt absolute rule with religious authority—”Jurist’s Guardianship” -establish the Islamic Republic of Iran *the term coined by Khomeini to suggest factions (republic) but final authority by the caliph *Luck: Oil prices rebounded, providing money for social services, medical care, etc. *Luck: Iraq War unified Iranians 2) Institutions of Government created/revised a) Parliament b) President c) Assembly of Experts d) Supreme Leader e)Guardian Council f) Supreme National Security Council g) Armed Forces h) Expediency Council i) Judiciary 3) dissatisfaction with poor socio economic conditions and “tiredness” with making sacrifices were pervasive by 1989
1989 forward • Khomeini was succeeded by the Ayatollah Khamenei • Power began to shift back to the Presidency • The President in 1989 was Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who was a hard liner and closely allied with Ayatollah Khamenei • In the 1992 elections, the two held on to power • 1997 elections: a moderate, Mohammad Khatami won • 2002: Declared a member of the “Axis of Evil” by President George W. Bush
The Iranian Executive • “Supreme Leader” or faqih chosen by 86 member “Assembly of Religious Experts” a.k.a. “Chamber of Experts” • Supposed to defend Islam, ensure laws acceptable • Appoints/removes head of judiciary • Appoints/removes ½ (6 members) of Guardian Council (approves candidates) • Appoints head of military and may command armed forces • Declares war and peace • Most famous: Ayatollah Khomeini • Current: • More powerful than Iran’s President, may overrule or dismiss the President and eliminate Presidential candidates
Iran’s President • 1989: PM abolished • Needs absolute majority of votes, 4 year term—2 term maximum • Must be “well known political personality”—Guardian Council has used this to ban women • June 2005: Election--Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, hardline mayor of Tehran, defeats Rafsanjani • Devises the budget, supervises economic matters • Proposes legislation to Majles • Executes policy • Signs treaties, laws, and agreements • Chairs the National Security Council • Selects vice-presidents and cabinet ministers • Approves provincial governors, town mayors, and ambassadors • Abol-Hasan Bani-Sadr removed in 1981 for criticizing regime as dictatorship
Council of Guardians • 12 member council • 6 clerics + 6 lay members (lawyers) • All men • Has veto power with Supreme Leader over Parliamentary legislation—did so with Press Control law repeal • Determines who can run in local, Presidential, Parliamentary, and Religious Experts elections • Work with Supreme Leader to exercise “jurist’s guardianship”
Assembly of Religious Experts • 86 members • Elected popularly and directly but it’s all clerics. 1998 revisions do allow non-clerics but none elected yet • No females allowed • Candidates must pass religion test to qualify • Chose Ali Khameini in 1989
Council for the Expediency of the State • Created 1998 • 32 leading political personalities appointed for 3 year terms, may now originate own legislation • Members: • Heads of 3 branches of government (President, Chief Justice, Speaker of the Majles) • 6 Clerics of Guardian council • Anyone else Supreme Leader wants • Resolves policy disputes between Guardian Council and Majlis
Islamic Consultative Assembly (Majlis)-- Legislature • 290 deputies, 4 yr terms, semi-free elections, must be 15 to vote • All candidates must be cleared by “Council of Guardians” (council may veto any law not consistent with “the Revolution”) • Speaker has emerged as major position; Rafsanjani used it as springboard to Presidency. Now Akbar Nateq-Noori • Makes laws, interprets laws with Judiciary, 6 members on Guardian Council, investigations, removes Cabinet ministers but not President, approves budgets/treaties/appointees of President • Elections to the Majlis of Iran were held on February 20, 2004. A runoff was held on May 7, 2004, which filled 39 seats where no candidate gained sufficient votes to win in the first round. • The elections took place amidst a serious political crisis that developed due to the January 2004 decision of the conservative vetting body, the Council of Guardians, to ban thousands of candidates from running -- nearly half of the total.
A vast number of reformists, including some of their leaders, and particularly members of the Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF), were barred from running. In many parts of Iran, there weren't even enough independent candidates approved, so the reformists couldn't form an alliance with them. • Out of a possible 285 seats (5 seats are reserved for religious minorities: Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians), the participating reformist parties could only introduce 191 candidates. Some reformist parties, like the IIPF, announced that they would not vote. Moderate reformists, including President Mohammad Khatami, urged citizens to vote in order to deny the conservative candidates an easy majority. • While many pro-reform social and political figures, including Shirin Ebadi, had asked people not to vote, the official turnout was about 51%. Even in Tehran and its suburbs, a stronghold of reformist sympathies, turnout was about 28%, and one of the conservative alliances, Etelaf-e Abadgaran-e Iran-e Eslami, won all of the city's 30 seats. There are rumors that some voters were transferred to Tehran or other big cities from other areas by some of the parties, and a claim that the Municipality of Tehran, whose mayor backed the same alliance, was advertising for the alliance illegally, using the government's budget. • Day before the election--reformist newspapers Yas-e-no and Shargh were banned. • The preliminary results of the elections showed a victory by the conservatives. A basic comparison of the partial lists indicated that even among the seats where the reformist alliance had a candidate, only 28% (30 out of 107) were elected.
Iranian Judiciary • NOT an independent judiciary, enforces shari’a and qanun (statutory law). Judicial review in the sense that qanun may not violate shari’a • Supreme Leader appoints cleric to be head judge • Religious zealots (hezbollahis) recruited from ranks of urban poor (bazaaris)= stormtroopers • Enforces censorship laws to curtail public debates • Shut down 100 newspapers/magazines 1997-2004 • Banned interest on loans as usury • Death penalty mandated for adultery, homosexuality, drug dealing, and alcoholism
Iranian Military • 540,000 active troops (8th largest) • Some long range missiles • Developing nuclear weapons • Revolutionary Guards developed in case military gets reformist ideas
Political Parties/Elections • Finally re-legalized in 1998 • Islamic Iran Participation Front: Reformist, formed after 1997 election of Khatami. Run by Muhammad Reza Khatami (his brother). Did well in 2000, many candidates blocked by Guardian Council in 2004. Helped Muhammad Khatami win re-election • Servants of Construction Party: Grouping of technocrats loosely allied with former President Rafsanjani • Assembly of Combatant Clerics: Muhammad Khatami’s party. Left wing, pro-reform. • Conservatives: several different parties, biggest is Ahmadinejad’s Islamic Society of Engineers • Almost 1 election/year: ingrained • 15 is voting age • High voter turnout • Candidate to seat ratio is 10:1 or more • Sharia, the canonical law of Islam, is the basis for the Constitution and therefore elections
Bureaucracy • Revolutionaries purged bureaucracy • Doubled in size since 1979 though • College and Hs graduates • Second strata is conservative technocrats • Military= Regular Army + Revolutionary Guards (internal security) • New ministry: Culture and Islamic Guidance (censors media) • Reconstruction: expands social services, sees that Islam expands into the countryside • Intelligence, Interior, Justice, Culture headed by clerics, often other posts go to their relatives • Result= clientelism, corruption, mismanagement, patronage, ideological, nepotist • Some semipublic institutions from confiscated pre-1979 wealth, “Martyr’s Foundation”
Political Culture • Shiism: “Hidden Imam” will return. Union of religious and political authority through sharia (Islamic law). Sharia is an essentail base of legitimacy • Authoritarianism, but not totalitarianism (relieves some pressure for reform) • Escaped from European colonization—will not be same as Mexico, Nigeria • Geographic limitations: Not much arable land, plenty of oil, most Iranians live in cities and the northwest • Ancient Persian influences (architecture, literary works, decorative arts) • Mass media severely curtailed, 20 newspapers shut down in 1979, 7 more by 1981. • 1981 law: crime to use “pen or speech” against the government • 2000: Reformists elected, outgoing legislature enacted “press control law,” which Guardian Council has ordered cannot be overturned by the new legislature
Cleavages • Religion (10% Sunni, <1% Baha’I • Ethnicity (51% Persian, 24% Azeri), various ethnic uprisings have all been put down • Reformers vs. Conservatives • Statists vs. Free marketers (Bill to allow 100% foreign ownership, up from 48%, vetoed by Guardian Council) • Resistance to clerical rule by fiat is strongest among middle class– increasingly urbanized, educated, and young. Peasantry and lower class support the regime. • Most upper class left the country in 1979
Civil Society • Cultural Revolution in schools—revolutionaries made schools teach orthodoxy. Western sympathizing professors fired and replaced (like Cultural Revolution in China) • Intellectual prosperity has flourished under a repressive regime • No criticism of Islam or clerics permitted • Mild criticism of government OK • About 200 well respected journals present • Participation high • 1999 studenbt uprising crushed • Revolutionaries tried to crush pre-1979 culture, eventually decided they would have to coexist/co-opt it
Political Participation • Huge gaps in values between different social groups • Western influence over upper/middle classes • Millions took action during Revolution, elections—students and youth now have enormous political weight • Women’s participation has gone up • Dissuaded when government assassinated over 100 ethnic, leftist, and monarchist forces living in the WEST. • Protests remain (1999 shutdown of college newspaper), factory workers protest now
Gender • Divorce and custody laws now follow Islamic rules—bad for women “Equality with difference” • Veil a symbol of oppression • Scarf and long coat in public required • Women must have consent of male relatives to leave the country • Occasional stonings for adultery, although they have been banned • Runaway girls, prostitution widespread • 27% of labor force is women • Boys and girls do attend school at same rate • Not well represented in Majles
Political Economy • Khomeini: “Economics is for donkeys.” • Pressures during 1980s: • 1) Nationalization of many large firms • 2) Massive emigration of skilled workers • 3) Decline in Western investment • 4) Oil price drop • 5) 8 yr Iraq war • Pragmatists wanted economic recovery, opposed by conservatives who wanted no reforms, keep West out • Guild and professional organizations are weak—citizenry have multiple occupations and rapid employment turnover
Economy • Oil 85% of exports—rentier state • Suffers from lack of diversification, dependence on world market/price fluctuations, exacerbates income inequality, corrupt usage of rents • Lack of raw materials and spare parts • 16% Unemployment • 15% inflation • But education and health care have improved • Bazaar merchants have constituted backbone of economic flows • A myriad of quasi-private foundations and religious endowments manage state-owned enterprises to aid the poor (Shah’s old fortune) • Iran has applied for WTO membership despite reservations about Western domination, nothing against cooperation, just domination. • Iran will need outside help with infrastructure, developing additional oil resources • Declining birth rate will help; mandatory sex ed classes for engaged couples • Iran did not sign Kyoto Treaty but has gotten World Bank aid to clean up air pollution • Afghan and other refugees have been a strain on the economy • Country suffers from air polllution (not Kyoto signatory), deforestation, desertification, water contamination
Iranian Foreign Policy • OPEC Member • Some advocate warmer ties with foreign investors, possibly readmitting US dollars • Tourism industry almost dormant now • Money a coward; Iran the classic example • Large refugee population: Afghan, Iraqi, Kurd • Large diaspora abroad—government tries to court them, most demand things the government cannot or will not provide
Learning Objectives After mastering the concepts presented in this chapter, you will be able to: • Understand the key moments of the historical formation of Persia and Iran. • Recognize the importance of complex religious and political challenges in process of understanding of Iranian politics and society. Define the following: Shiites, Sunni, Muslim, Arab • Discuss the complicated evolution of Iranian politics. • Comprehend the importance of religious intolerance and challenges in the Iranian state throughout the history. • Discuss the role of theocracy in the process of Iranian political development. • Understand the evolution of Iranian state in 20th century and define key elements of revolutions in Iran. Briefly discuss the role of the following leaders: MahmoudAhamdinejad, Ayatollah Ali Khameni, Ayatollah Khomeini, Ayatollah Rafsanjani, Shah Mohamed Reza, Shah Reza
Learning Objectives After mastering the concepts presented in this chapter, you will be able to: • Define Iranian geography and current economic challenges. • Understand the process of political, economic and social developments of Iran. • Understand the role of Constitutional Revolution and White Revolution in Iran. • Discuss the key elements of Iranian state institution. Define the following: Assembly of Experts, Expediency Council, Guardian Council, Majlis, Supreme Leader • Understand the specifications of Iranian political culture and participation. • Understand the challenges of democratization in Iran. • Comprehend the challenging process of the development of Iranian international positioning as an important regional and international challenges of international stability and nonproliferation.