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  1. Iran

  2. Importance of Shiism • Shiism – established as state religion in 16th century • Is type of Islam that differentiates Iran from its neighbors • Shiites quarreled w/ Sunni Muslims for centuries • Division originated after religion’s founder, Muhammad, died w/o designated heir • Sunnis favored choosing the caliph (leader) from accepted leadership • Shiites argued mantle should be hereditary, passed to Muhammad’s son-in-law, Ali • When Ali was killed in the dispute, Shiite opinion became minority one, kept their separate identity, carried belief the true heirs of Islam were descendants of Ali • Heirs called imams continued until 9th century, when 12th descendant disappeared as a child (“Hidden Imam”)

  3. From 7th – 16th centuries CE, geographical region of Iran had little political unity, experienced numerous invasions • Invasions included Arabs bringing Islam • When Iran established as Shiite state in 16th century, distinguished it as different from all Sunni states around it, characteristics still exists • Political legitimacy to belief Hidden Imam will eventually return, but until he did, rulers if Iran stood in his place as true heirs • What emerged was new system that held Persians together – religion, not politics • Religion survived despite other invasions, changes in political leadership over the years • Islam continues to be vital source of identity for Iranians

  4. Sovereignty, Authority, & Power • 6th century BCE competing w/ Greece • Greece was divided into quarreling city-states & its economy, transportation was heavily reliant on sea • Iran spread from desert north of Persian Gulf & spread its power through highly centralized military leadership • Clash between the 2 may be seen as first act of drama played out over centuries: West vs. East • Ultimately conquered by Alexander the Great • Greatly admired Persian political structure

  5. Persian sovereigns were hereditary military leaders who enjoyed trappings of royalty • Large militaries • Built cities in their honor • King’s authority supported by strong military as well as state-sponsored religion Zoroastrianism • Zoroastrianism didn’t survive as major religion, but continued to be sponsored by rulers for centuries • Rulers of empires that followed not able to centralize power as successfully as prior leaders – but stage set for authoritarian state

  6. Traditional Political Culture • Although Iran had centuries of weak political organization in Iran, Shiism continued as an important unifying thread to political culture • Multi-faceted political culture characterized by: • Authoritarianism, but not totalitarianism– central political leaders did not control all areas of individuals’ lives • People became accustomed to paying attention to local officials &/or leading their own lives w/in civil society • Union of political & religious authority– political & religious leader often 1 & the same since ancient Persians • Starting w/ Qajars (1794-1925) – 2 types of authority separated • Brought back together by Revolution of 1979

  7. Shiism & Sharia as central components– almost 90% of all Iranians identify themselves as Shiite, links citizens to the gov’t • Islamic law shariais an important source of legitimacy that the modern gov’t particularly emphasizes • Escape from European colonization– Iran never officially colonized by Europeans during imperialist era • Imperialism didn’t have direct impact had on Mexico & Nigeria • Geographic limitations– great deal of land space unusable for agriculture, w/ vast central desert plain, mountains to N & NE • Restrictions caused early Persians to seek better lands to west by expansion & conquest • Modern day: population of Iran is unevenly distributed, w/ most living in cities & NW, where most arable land is located • Influence of ancient Persia– differences w/ neighbors not only based on Shiite vs. Sunni • Even after Arabs invaded Iran, people continued to speak Persian rather than Arabic • Many other cultural habits remained as well: distinctive architecture, literary works, poetry, decorative arts

  8. Political & Economic Change • Iran established itself as first large empire in world history – military powerhouse w/ strong leaders & centralized governing structures • Despite continuity of religious & political union • Gradual separation of religion from politics = declining centralization of political power before 20th century • 20th century saw 2 revolutions: • 1905-1909: set democratic impulses in place • 1979: reunified religion w/ politics into modern theocracy

  9. Economically: suffered & benefitted from natural resources • Lack of arable land has meant agricultural basis of empires never secure, geographical location caused Iran to emphasize trade by land • Iran marginalized when world commerce turned sea-based • Didn’t prosper until modern natural resource discovered: OIL • Oil has bought own set of economic problems to Iran: managing this necessary commodity for industrialization to benefit the state & its people

  10. The Safavids (1501-1722) • Iran traces Shiite identity to Safavid Empire • Succeeded in converting nearly 90% to Shiism by mid-1600s • Sunnism has survived to modern day among ethnic groups along borders: Kurds in NW, Turkmen in NE, Baluchis in SE, Arabs in SW • Despite religious fervor tolerated Sunni, Jews, Christians • Special regard for People of the Book – monotheistic people who live lives to holy books similar to the Qur'an • Serious economic restraints • Trade routes from Iran to ancient Silk Route had broken up • World trade shifted to Indian & Atlantic Oceans • No $$ for large bureaucracy/standing army = trouble maintaining rule • Claimed absolute power but • Lacked central state • Had to seek cooperation of semi-independent local leaders • Many clerics lived safely outside reach of gov’t • Monarchy became separated from society & had lost great deal of power by 1722 b/c of economic & political troubles • Empire ended when Afghan tribesmen invaded in 1722

  11. The Qajars (1794-1925) • Iran in disarray until conquered by Qajars (Turkish) • Moved capital to Tehran • Retained Shiism as official state religion • Important political change • Safavids claimed to be descendants of Twelve Imams, Qajars couldn’t tie legitimacy to that link • Shia clerical leaders claimed to be main interpreters of Islam • Separation of gov’t & religion widened significantly • Qajars ruled during European imperialism • Suffered land losses to N & NW to growing power of Russia • Sold oil drilling rights in SW to Britain • Borrowed heavily from European banks to meet considerable court expenses • By end of 19th century, shah had country in serious debt, Iranians upset by lavish lifestyle

  12. Problems encouraged Constitutional Revolution of 1905-1909 • Began w/ businessmen & bankers demonstrating against Qajars’ move to hand over customs collections to Europeans • Qajars attempting to settle their debts but middle class fed up b/c suspected shah would sacrifice paying domestic debts to repay European loans • By 1906 British liberalism has affected Iran’s merchants & industrialists • British (w/ business interests in Iran) encouraged shah to concede, especially since Iran didn’t have an army to put down an insurrection

  13. Constitution of 1906 modeled after western ones; included: • Direct elections • Separation of powers • Laws made by an elected legislature • Popular sovereignty • Bill of Rights guaranteeing citizens equality before the law, protections for those accused of crimes, freedom of expression • Retained monarchy, but created strong legislature • New assembly called Majles – authority to make / pass laws & controlled cabinet ministers who reported to legislature, not shah • Seats for “People of the Book” • Sparked debate about separation of religion & gov’t, but didn’t turn away from Shiism completely • Was declared official state religion, only Shiites get cabinet positions • Created Guardian Council of clerics w/ power to veto any legislation • Reforms couldn’t do anything for economic problems • World events of early 20th century led to division of Iran into 3 parts: controlled by Iranians, British, Russians during WWI • By 1921: political & economic disarray, quarreling factions polarizing Majles into ineffective ruling

  14. The Pahlavis (1925-1979) • Reza Khan carried out successful coup in 1921 • Declared himself shah 1925, establishing Pahlavi dynasty • Handed power over to his son Muhammad Reza Shah 1941 • Under Reza Shah, Majles lost power & authoritarian rule reestablished • Reestablished order in Iran, but democratic experimentation in 1906 Constitution not forgotten • Muhammad had to deal w/ some democratic opposition • Tudeh (masses) Party: communist group w/ most of its support from working class trade unions • National Frontled by Muhammad Mosaddeq supported by middle class emphasizing Iranian nationalism • Advocated nationalizing British-owned company monopolizing Iran’s oil business • Wanted armed forces out from under shah’s control • Mosaddeq elected PM 1951, power grew so the shah forced to flee country in 1953 • His career cut short when British (helped by U.S.) supported shah, reinstated him • As result, many Iranians saw British & US as supporters of autocracy, the shah as weak pawn of foreign powers

  15. Economic Changes under Pahlavis • Transformed into a rentier state b/c of increasing amount of income from oil • Rentier state heavily supported by state expenditure while state receives rent from other countries • Income so great by 1970s Iran able to pay most expenses through oil income – didn’t need the people (their taxes) • Shah did adopt import substitution industrialization: encouraging domestic industries to provide products the population needed • By 1979 oil & associated industries made up large % of GNP, provided 97% country’s foreign exchange

  16. White Revolution • Pahlavi shahs built highly centralized state • Controlled banks, national radio-television networks, National Iranian Oil Company • Armed forces grew into 5th largest army in world by 1979 • Central bureaucracy gained control of local gov’ts • Majles became rubber stamp legislature • Religious state, secular judiciary w/ Europe style system & codes • White Revolution – (to counter communist “red” influences) • Focused on land reform • Gov’t buying land from large absentee owners & selling it to small farmers at affordable prices • Purpose: encourage farmers to become modern entrepreneurs • Secularized Iran further by extending voting rights to women, restricting polygamy, allowing women to work outside the home

  17. Patronage & the Resurgence Party • Both Pahlavis bolstered personal wealth first by seizing people’s property, established tax-exempt Pahlavi Foundation (patronage system to control large companies) • 1975 Muhammad Reza Shah announced formation of Resurgence Party • Declared Iran to be one-party state w/ him as head • Replaced Islamic calendar w/ new one • Claimed 2 new titles: “Guide to the New Great Civilization” & “Light of the Aryans” • Also dared to created Religious Corps w/ duty to teach Iranian peasants “true Islam”

  18. Islamic Revolution and the Republic (1979-Present) • Many causes & consequences similar to China, Russia, (communism) Mexico (PRI sidelined the church) • Unique in that it was almost completely religious • Most important leader a cleric who ruled Iran for 10 years following the revolution • Resulted in establishment of theocracy, while other revolutions generally were against religious control of gov’t

  19. Shah’s behavior disturbed Iranians largely b/c from many people’s points of view, overstepped bounds of political culture in 3 ways: • Perceived as being totalitarian, not just authoritarian • Similar to Porfirio Diaz in Mexico, shah created patrimonial state w/ patron-clientelism, w/o any real input from interest groups • As result, no true corporatism • Broke balance between secular & religious state by secularizing Iran too much & too fast (esp for clergy) • Ties to the west (esp USA) offended nationalists & clergy • Shah created divide in political culture • One side supporting modernization & closer ties to the West • Other side: defending traditional ways, esp Shiism

  20. Another ingredient for success: charisma of its leader: Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini • Defended Islamic fundamentalism • Articulated resentments toward elite & USA • Depicted US as “Great Satan”, which puzzled Americans but resonated w/ frustrated Iranians • Gave new meaning to old Shia term velayat-e faqih (jurist’s guardianship) • Originally gave senior clergy broad authority over unfortunate people in society • Khomeini claimed true meaning of jurist’s guardianship gives clergy authority over entire Shia community

  21. Revolution Begins • 2 factors brought situation to explode in revolution • Oil prices decreased about 10% in late 1970s at same time consumer prices increased about 20% in Iran • According to theory of rising expectations revolutions are most likely to occur when people are doing better than they once were, but a set back happens • US put pressure on shah to loosen restraints on opposition • Pres. Carter was big promoter of human rights around the globe & shah’s tight control on civil society worrisome • Once reins loosened, many groups supported the revolution – political parties, labor organizations, professional associations, students, oil workers • Shah fled country in Feb 1979, gov’t officially ended on Feb 11 w/ famous announcement: “This is the voice of Iran, the voice of the true Iran, the voice of the Islamic Revolution”

  22. Founding of the Islamic Republic • Late April 1979, national referendum held, Iranian people officially voted out monarchy & established Islamic Republic • 1979 Constitution by Assembly of Religious Experts (73-man assembly of clerics elected by the people) • Gave broad authority to Khomeini & clergy, although PM Mehdi Bazargan strongly objected • Bazargan advocated presidential republic based in Islam but democratic in structure • Constitution presented during US hostage crisis, time of high hostility toward Americans • Result: 99% of electorate endorsed it  75% of eligible voters actually voted • Once constitution endorsed, Shia leaders launched Cultural Revolution w/ similar goals to Mao’s in China in 1966 • Purify country from the shah's regime, & secular values & behaviors • Universities cleared of liberals & staffed w/ faculty who supported new regime • Suppressed all opposition, including almost all groups from civil society • Many executed in name of “revolutionary justice”

  23. Post-Khomeini – 1989-Present • Until Khomeini’s death in 1989, clerics consolidated & built power • Success cemented by factors that brought popular support: • World petroleum prices rebounded, Iran’s economy improved; gov’t able to afford social programs • Iraq invaded Iran in 1980, beginning war a war through the decade; people rallied around gov’t • Khomeini’s charismatic authority remained strong, inspired faith in the gov’t • Khomeini’s death marked beginning of new era for Republic • Ali Khamenei doesn’t have same magnetism of personality, nor does he have the academic credentials  encouraging some scholars in Qom to ? legitimacy of theocracy • Iran-Iraq war ended 1988, world oil prices fell again in 1990s • Many in population began to criticize authoritarian rule of clerics & to advocate for more democratic gov’t!!

  24. Conflict between theocratic & democratic values played itself out during presidencies of Mohammad Khatami (1997-2005) & Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (2005-Present) • Khatami: reformist aimed to end freeze in relations between Iran & the West; believed in “dialogue among civilizations’ to fostered positive relationships w/ other countries not just cessation of hostilities • Khatami: never advocated changing theocratic political structures, reformers a strong presence in Majles & executive • Ahmadinejad: conservative who has antagonized western countries, but not isolated himself from them; has asserted theocratic values • Ahmadinejad appeals to Iranian nationalism

  25. Legitimacy in the Modern State • Historical influences still shape modern state • Authoritarian leaders played important role in 20th century as Pahlavi shahs • Attempts to secularize the state undone by charismatic leader – Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini • Ayatollah hailed as “Leader of the Revolution, Founder of the Islamic Republic, Guide of the Oppressed masses, Commander of the Armed Forces, Imam of the Muslim World”

  26. Ayatollah Khomeini led Revolution of 1979, transformed legitimacy of the state, anchoring it again in principles of Shiism • Most important legitimizing document is the Constitution of 1979, w/ amendments of 1989 • Complex mixture of theocracy & democracy • Preamble reflects importance of religion for legitimacy of the state, affirming faith in God, Divine Justice, the Qur’an, the Prophet Muhammad, the Twelve Imams, eventual return of Hidden Imam

  27. Recent years: sovereignty of people & divinely inspired clerical rule – have created crisis of legitimacy in Iran • During Khatami’s presidency (1997-2005) • Reformers supporting democracy at forefront • Ahmadinejad’s Election (2005) • Conservatives endorsing theocracy took control = rift between reformers & conservatives illustrated issue of just how theocracy can also function as democracy • Conflict is reflected in differences among clerics in seminaries of Qom (city south of Tehran) in interpretations of true meaning of jurist’s guardianship

  28. Citizens, Society, and the State • Have little direct experience w/ democracy, but understand importance of civil society • b/c until Pahlavi shahs, authoritarian rulers had little power to reach into citizens’ everyday lives • Local officials were a presence, religious law set strict rules for behavior • Democratic experiment created an elected legislature, but new gov’t unable to solve problems = chaos

  29. Cleavages • Religion: 90% are Shia Muslims • Almost 10% are Sunni • 1% combination of Jews, Christians, Zoroastrian, Baha’i • Constitution recognizes religious minorities & basic rights, many religious minorities left since founding Republic (1979) • Constitution doesn’t mention Sunnis, so their rights often unclear • Ethnicity: closely tied to religion, but other cultural differences distinguish minorities • 51% considered Persian; 24% Azeri; 8% Gilaki & Mazandarani; 7% Kurds; 3% Arabi • Azeris live in NW close to former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan, creating worry for Iranian gov’t that Azerbaijan will want to form a larger state by taking territory from Iran • Azeris don’t speak Persian, but are strongly Shiite & Khameini is Azeri • Kurds & Arabs tend to be Sunni

  30. Social Class: peasantry & lower middle class source of support for regime, b/c have benefited from social programs • Middle & upper-middle class are largely secularized, tend to be highly critical of clerics & their control over society • Many middle class people haven’t fared well economically during years since Republic was founded • Cultural & political views of secularism reinforced by economic problems, creating discontent & opposition w/ regime • Reformers vs. Conservatives: fundamental cleavage since founding of Republic – merits of theocracy vs. democracy • Conservatives want regime as it is under control of clerics, sharia • Reformers want more secularization & democracy • Most don’t want to get rid of basic principles of an Islamic state, but have array of opinions about how much & where secularization & democracy should be infused into the system

  31. Political Institutions • Blends theocracy w/ democracy • Theocracy represented in national gov’t by position called Supreme Leader & gov’tal bodies called Guardian Council & Expediency Council • Assembly of Religious Experts & Majles democratically elected • Linkage institutions various stages of development, tend to be fluid

  32. Government Institutions • Divided administratively into provinces, districts, subdistricts, local areas • Islamic Constitution promises elected councils on each level of administration, requires governors & other regional officials (who are all appointed) to consult local councils • No steps taken to hold council elections until 1999 when President Khatami insisted on holding nationwide local elections • Election resulted in landslide for reformists, resenting challenge for conservative clergy • Local elections 2006 supported candidates critical of Ahmadinejad, reflecting as weakness in president’s popularity • Most important: it’s an attempt to blend theocratic ideals w/ democratic ones • Every structure has a purpose in terms of one or both

  33. Jurist’s Guardianship Supreme Leader, Guardian Council, Assembly of Religious Experts, Expediency Council don’t fit into 3-branch arrangement of gov’t institutions All 3 have broad executive, legislative, judicial powers allow them to supersede all other positions & bodies Abide by Ayatollah Khomeini’s overarching principle of velayat-e-faqih (jurist guardianship) in that they have all-encompassing authority over whole community based on ability to understand sharia & their commitment to champion rights of the people

  34. Supreme Leader Position at top of gov’t structure meant to be filled by Ayatollah Khomeini Seen as imam of whole community, represents pinnacle of theocratic principles of the state Constitution put Khomeini in position for life & after his death authority pass to leadership council of 2 or 3 clerics Didn’t occur! – followers didn’t trust clerics, instead selected new Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei – cleric of middle rank w/ none of Khomeini’s credentials Khamenei also appointed for life Powers of Supreme Leader: Is the faqih – leading Islamic jurist to interpret meaning of religious documents & sharia Links 3 branches of gov’t together, mediate among them Elimination of presidential candidates Dismissal of president Commander of armed forces Declaration of war & peace Appointment and removal of major administrators & judges Nomination of 6 members of Guardian Council Appointment of many non-governmental directors, such as national radio-television network, semi-public foundations

  35. Guardian Council Represents theocratic principles Consists of 12 male clerics (6 appointed by Supreme Leader, 6 nominated by chief judge & approved by Majles) Reviews bills passed by Majles to ensure they conform to sharia Power to decide who can compete in elections Exercise jurist’s guardianship (w/ Supreme Leader) Expediency Council Khomeini created body to referee disputes between Guardian Council & Majles Eventually passed some compromise bills, was institutionalized by 1989 constitutional amendments Today: 32 members, many more powers than originally Can originate own legislation Not all members are clerics, but are still appointed by Supreme Leader Collectively they are most powerful men in Iran Rafsanjani currently head (in addition to chairing Assembly of Religious Experts)

  36. The Executive Not the same authority as in US, Mexico, Nigeria President does represent highest official representing democratic principles in Iran President & the Cabinet: President chief executive & highest state official after Supreme Leader Directly elected every 4 years, limited to 2 consecutive terms Democratically elected, but constitution requires him to be pious Shiite that upholds Islamic principles Powers include: Devising the budget Supervising economic matters Proposing legislation to Majles Executing policies Signing treaties, laws, agreements Chairing National Security Council Selecting vice presidents & cabinet ministers Appointing provincial governors, town mayors, ambassadors

  37. All of the 6 presidents have been clerics except Abol-Hasan Bani-Sadr, ousted in 1981 for calling the regime a dictatorship Cabinet conducts day-to-day governance Practically all new laws & budget initiated & devised by members, submitted to Majles for approval, modification, etc. The Bureaucracy Huge – headed by president – has expanded over the years to provide jobs for college & high school graduates Doubled in size since 1979 Senior Ministries: Culture & Islamic Guidance: censures the media Intelligence: serves as chief security organization Heavy Industry: manages nationalized factories Reconstruction: expands social services & sees that Islam extends into the countryside

  38. Semipublic Institutions Theoretically autonomous Are directed by clerics appointed personally by Supreme Leader Generally called “foundations” Are tax exempt, reputed to have great deal of income Most of the property they supervise confiscated from pre-1979 elite

  39. Legislature (Majles) Unicameral legislature, although in some ways Assembly of Religious Experts functioned as upper house since 1989, when membership expanded to 86 elected representatives Both are directly elected by the people Majles first created by Constitution of 1906, when part of Iran’s early 20th century experiment w/ democracy Survived Pahlavi shahs, retained in Constitution of 1979 290 seats directly elected through single member districts 2000 election saw many reformists fill seats through coalition – Khordad Front Won 80% of vote of over 70% of the electorate Supporters of secular parties banned from campaign, voted for reformers b/c saw them as alternatives to religious conservatives Before 2004 election, Guardian Council banned many reformist candidates from entering the race, result – overwhelming victory for conservatives

  40. 1989 amendments weakened Majles but still important institution w/ significant powers: Enacting or changing laws (w/ approval of Guardian Council) Interpreting legislation, as long as they don’t contradict judicial authorities) Appointing 6 of 12 members of the Guardian Council, chosen from list dawn up by chief judge Investigating cabinet ministers & public complaints against executive & judiciary Removing cabinet ministers, but not the president Approving budget, cabinet appointments, treaties, loans

  41. The Judiciary Very important things to remember: 2 distinct types of law govern: sharia & qanun Principle of jurist’s guardianship means the Supreme Leader, Guardian Council, Assembly of Religious Experts have final say regarding interpretation of law Sharia – Islamic law built up over several centuries after death of founder, Muhammad in 7th century Considered to be foundation of all Islamic civilization, so its authority goes beyond Iran’s borders Is meant to embody vision of community where all Muslims are brothers & sisters & subscribe to same moral values Foundations of Iran’s political system rests in belief sharia supersedes all other types of law, its interpretation is most important of all responsibilities for political & religious leaders Principle of jurist’s guardianship reflects reverence for sharia

  42. Qanun: body of statutes made by legislative bodies Law made by the people’s elected representatives, have no sacred meaning Must NOT contradict sharia Responsibility of Majles to pass qanun Job of Guardian Council & Supreme Leader to review work of legislature & to apply interpretation of sharia to all laws Judicial review does exist in Iran Ultimate legal authority in sharia, not constitution b/c sharia is so complex, interpretation not easy, has been applied in many different ways Ayatollah Khomeini’s importance in shaping political system is that his interpretation of sharia came to be standard that influenced all leaders following him Core principle of present-day regime is to accommodate Islam to constitutional framework ,as provided by Constitution

  43. Islamic Republic Islamized judiciary code by interpreting sharia strictly Passed Retribution Law – permitted families to demand compensation to victim’s family from those responsible for someone’s death Mandated death penalty for wide range of activities: adultery, homosexuality, drug dealing, alcoholism Unequal treatment of men & women, Muslim & non-Muslim Banned interest rates on loans, implying people in need of loans are taken advantage of by the lender Regime retained court structure from shah’s gov’t, keeping appeals system, hierarchy of state courts, central gov’t’s right to appoint & dismiss judges Interpretation of sharia broadened gradually, so that harsh corporal punishments outlined in Retribution Law rarely carried out today Today, most are fined or imprisoned rather than flogged

  44. The Military Immediately after 1979, Khomeini established Revolutionary Guardan elite military force – commanders appointed by Supreme Leader Created as parallel force to regular army, navy, air force Intended to safeguard Republic from any subterfuge w/in military Supreme Leader is commander in chief Regular army defends the borders Revolutionary Guard protects the republic Currently about 540,000 active troops – 8th largest military in world Much is kept secret but its advanced abilities & technologies have been shown through building of long-range missiles Guard increasingly independent, active role in policymaking Important political force w/ own ministry, army, navy, air force Large # of former guards sit in Majles, men w/ close links to Guard control principal media outlets 2004: showed its strength by deciding on its own to close down airport in Tehran on grounds of national security threat

  45. Linkage Institutions • Political Parties • Constitution provides for political parties, but gov’t didn’t allow them until Muhammad Khatami’s election (1997) • Since, multiple formed, most around personalities, not issues • Parties constantly changing but some are: • Iranian Militant Clerics Society: left wing pro-reform party led by Khatami • Candidate for president in 2005 (MehdiKarroubi) came in 3rd • Islamic Iran Participation Front: reformist party led by Muhammad Khatami’s brother • Founded on the motto: “Iran for all Iranians” • Guardian Council barred many of its candidates in 2004 so representation slipped considerably

  46. Executives of Construction Party: founded by members of former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani’s cabinet • Islamic Society of Engineers: member of conservative alliance, most famous member is current president of the Republic, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad • Khordad Front: alliance of reformist parties in presidential election of 2000 • Won reelection for Khatami in 2000 • 2nd Khordad Front didn’t survive Guardian Council’s banning of many reformist candidates for Majles election of 2004 when 70% of seats went to conservative candidates

  47. Many political parties of former dissidents are now in exile but still active • Liberation Movement (moderate Islamic party) est. 1961, banned in 2002 as subversive organization • National Front, headed by shah’s dissident PM Mossadeq in 1950s banned in late 1980s • Party system reflects factionalism (splintering of political elites based on points of view & personalities) • Since parties fluid, weak, not vehicles for discussing policymaking alternatives • Factions tend to coalesce before elections then break apart • Defeated factions tend to stay together between elections in hopes of reversing fortunes in next election

  48. Elections • National level: citizens vote for members of Assembly of Religious Experts, representatives to Majles, president of the Republic • Also vote for officials on local level • Elections to Majles & presidency use plurality • But elections consist of 2 rounds, so one of 2 contenders left in 2nd round will get majority of votes • Majles Election of 2004 • Took place after Council of Guardians banned thousands of candidates from running, mainly from reformist parties • Some reformists refused to vote, official turnout only 51% • Conservative candidates won 70% of the vote • Presidential Election of 2005 • Presidents can’t run for more than 2 terms • Guardian Council disqualified ~100 candidates • Results of 1st round close – Rafsanjani & Ahmadinejad to 2nd • Ahmadinejad won in 2nd round