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AP Government Iran Project

Chase Meadows

on 22 March 2012

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Transcript of Iran

Iran Some things to keep in mind during the presentation: What are the most important challenges confronting the Iranian political system today and how can these be put into a historical perspective? Can Iran be classified as an example of economic modernization and political development? Let's get started Political Institutions Islamic Republic of Iran* Mix of democracy and theocracy (rule by clergy) *since 1979, but we will get to that later. Supranationals United Nations WTO (observer)
OPEC National Level Unitary Centralized 30 provinces Executive President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Presidential Powers and Elections Elected by a direct vote; must receive an absolute majority with universal suffrage for four years, with a limit of two consecutive terms; powers are inhibited by those of the Supreme Leader Chooses cabinet members (confirmed by the Maijles)
Writes legislation for the parliament
Coordinates government
Upholds the constitution.
The Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei* Beard level: Ultra wizard Head of Government Supreme Leader Powers and Elections Iran's most powerful political figure Head of State Supervises politics to ensure conformity with Islamic law
Appoint the top positions in the military
Appoint the head of the judiciary and half of the Guardian Council
Direct descendant of Muhammad (the prophet)
Can overrule and dismiss the president Must be a cleric (but not highest rank) Rahbar Prime Minister IMF Removed in 1989 with amendment Legislative Council of Guardians Powers and Elections Approves laws
12 member council
Joint veto power with the Supreme Leader over legislation passed by parliament
Acts an upper legislative house
Rule on constitutionality of laws
Make sure laws are compatible with Shar'ia
Guardian Council Powers Nominating the Guardian Council Six of the members- lawyers nominated by Chief Judge and Confirmed by Maijles
Six of the members-clerics appointed by the Supreme Leader
Assembly of Religious Experts Majiles-e Khebregan Aids Supreme Leader and Guardian council in interpretting the contsitution. 86 member all-male assembly populated with mostly clerics and directly elected with 4-year terms Parliament Maijles Officially the Islamic Consultative Assembly 290 members elected by direct and secret ballot for four-year terms. Is not a rubber-stamp institution
Undergoing a trend of anticlericalism, with fewer clerics being elected to the Majles (37% decrease since 1980)
Females and other members of non-Islamic religions are allowed.
5 seats reserved for non-Islamic groups
No Baha'i
4 year terms.
(The lower house) Expediency Council Council for the Expediency of the State resolves policy disputes between the Guardian Council and the Majles
Advises leaders
consists of currently 32 members
3 year terms
chosen from three branches of government: includes the six clerics of the Guardian Council Parliamentary and Presidential Systems Presidential System (Not Really*) President has a good share of power.
Legislature has a good share of power.
Checks and balances are in place *The system is only truly dominated by the Supreme Leader. Basij Militia- affiliated with Ayatollah Khomeini, that acts as an internal security force Velayat-e faqih (Jurist Guardianship) - Khomeini's theory about theocracy in the importance of clergy's supervision of the state Shar'ia ELECTIONS Presidential Presidential Elections: Must win by absolute majority
Must be a Shi'ite
Approved by Guardian Council Similar to CCP Somewhat competitive, but recent scandals show otherwise
2009 with Ahmadinejad vs Mousavi Legislative Legislative elections:
Take place every 4 years
Most recent election took place on March 2nd
New Majles opened in May.
Relatively competitive, aside from the Guardian Council
* Unless you are a reformist or a non-Shi'ite Referendums Iranian constitutional referendum, 1989:
eliminates prime minister Iranian Islamic Republic referendum, March 1979
Established modern regime. (return to this later) Iranian constitutional referendum, 1963
White revolution (return to this later) Electoral Systems Two Round System:
Candidates with a plurality of 25% or more of the votes are guaranteed seats in the first round.
Remaining candidates compete for seats in 2nd round.
Each person has one vote.
Women can vote
Guardian Council and Ministry of Interior (MoI)
GC- Supervises elections
MoI - holds the elections
Voters must show Shenasnameh- national id. book
Must be 18 to vote
For presidency, an absolute majority is necessary
Runoffs exist for presidential elections
Political Parties Parties Relatively weak and disorganized.
illegal until 1998
Current Parties Servants of Reconstruction
Osulgarayan (Principalists)
Islamic Iran Participation Front Islamic Iran Participation Front Mohsen Mirdamadi Reformism
Pragmatism Servants of Reconstruction Industrialists
Technocrats Rafsanjani Former President Osulgarayan Fundamentalist
Conservative Support the supreme leader. Parties are not all that important. The real conflict tends to be conservatism vs. reformism Conservatives dominate the legislature In the Majiles:
Political groups
Conservatives (195)
Reformists (51)
Independents (39)
Religious minorities (5) Elite Recruitment and Factions

Servants of Construction: technocrats and pro-business Combatant Clerics: shop keepers; economic protectionists; support Khatami
Militant Clerics: socialists; oppose
Interest Groups The Tudeh Party of Iran Iranian Communist interest group Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran SECULARIST! Because of this, they hold little influence.
Most members are located outside of Iran Bureaucracies Bureaucracy in Iran is HUGE Employs millions of people Membership has doubled since 1979 Several roles in policy making: Industry
Ministries of Cultural and islamic guidance
Tend to be highly trained technocrats But, bureaucracy is dominated by clergy It is likely the members are chosen based off of merit and patronage Military Military Commanded by Supreme Leader Powerful influence in politics many leaders have seats in the Majles Known as the Revolutionary Guard Basij Volunteer militia associated with human rights violations SAVAK Secret police backed by the CIA
under Pahlavi Regime 1959-1979 Judiciary Headed by Chief of Justice Chosen by Supreme Leader each 5 years Must be a cleric Sadeq Larijani Shar'ia vs Qanun Law by God Law by man The Judiciary is relatively independent Judicial Review Does not constitutionally exist Exists only because Shar'ia is complicated and must be interpreted Political Culture Citizens, Society, and the State Authoritarianism, not totalitarianism
Union of political and religious authority
Shiism and sharia
Escape from European influences
Geographic restraints
Persian culture
Iranian nationalism Family and religion are important agents of political socialization Clea vages Religion ~90% Shiite
~10% Sunni
~1% Other Ethnicity 51% Persian
24% Azeri
8% Gilaki and Mazandarani
7% Kurds
3% Arabs Class Peasantry + Lower Class
Middle + Upper Class Reformers Conservatives Pragmatic Conservatives
Radical Clerics The Media No criticizing:
The Ayatollah
Islamic Doctrine
Matters of "National Security" Fair Game:
Social Problems
Political Blunders Political Participation Voting Actual Turnout May Vary Protests Shutdown of a Reformist Newspaper (1999)
Death Sentence of an Academic (2002)
Privitization of University System (2003)
Striking Bus Drivers (2007)
International Women's Day (2007)
Presidential Election Fraud (2009) Neda Agha Soltan Women and
Minorities Some liberties restricted by Sharia law
8% of the Majles
33% of the labor force 5 Seats in the Majles reserved for recognized religions:
2 Armenian Seats
1 Assyrian (Catholic) Seat
1 Jewish Seat
1 Zorastrian Seat Revolution, Coups, and War! Qajar Rule
(1794 -1925) Pahlavi Rule
(1925-1979) Constitutional Revolution
1905-1909 White Revolution Islamic Republic (1979-) Jurist's Guardianship
Revolution of Rising Expectations
1979 Constitution
Cultural Revolution Oil Price Swings
Iran-Iraq War 1980-1988 White coup of reformists
Dominance of conservatives Khatami's Social Reform Complete Reversal
<--> Ahmadinejad and the White Coup Rafsanjani Focused on Pragmatic Economic Reform Death of Khomeini Signals the End of an Era Fought censorship
Supported women and minority rights
Strengthened civil society
Improve relations with the US Social Movements and Trends Elections were becoming fairly competitive, with the Guardian Council using its power only to remove unlikelies and agitators The 2004 Majles elections saw the first tides of Guardian Council abuse to root out the reformists in government After the revolution, much of the shah's property and assets were nationalized (bonyads)
The state controls as much as 80% of the economy
"Justice-shares" hae been issued for some state-run enterprises
The government has been reluctant to open the doors to foreign investment
As a consequence, like in Russia, many of the revolutionary leaders became extremely wealthy in their corrupt and lucrative guiding of these industries.
The people have become disillusioned with the spirituality of this second generation of clerics. Globalization -One of the most powerful of the Islamic nations standing up to Western powers.
-There has been serious counter attacks to the impact of globalization partially seen in the eruption of the '79 election, and the pursuit of a nuclear program.
-Has strictly resisted economic globalization.
-Minor ethnic fragmentation: non-tolerance of the Bahai faith, Kurdish minority in northwest.
-More serious generational fragmentation across coinciding cleavages Iran has contradictory treatment of women.

Women who commit adultury can be legally stoned to death
Women are not allowed to attend soccer games
Iran has a much higher percent of women in the work force than neighboring countries
Strictness on women's dress and behavio in public is being loosened What about women? The Iranian economy relies heavily on oil, so much of its recent economic success has been the result of an increase in oil prices
Youth are severely unemployed
Inflation is around 20% and the standard of living for most Iranians is lower than it was in 1979
Bad economy not helped by Iraq war debt and US trade sanctions against Iran
"This revolution is not about the price of watermellons" -Ayatollah Khomeini ... Or the economy? Government controls around 80% of economy
bonyads- government charity
Constitution makes it difficult to privatize business
Legislation makes it difficult for foreigners to invest in the Iranian market (IMPORTANT) Death to America! The CIA was instrumental in the overthrow of the Mossadeq gov in 1953, US strongly believes in Iranian regime change
Fundamentally disagrees on many issues (like Israel)
Iranian hostage crisis 1979 (15 months long)
They hated Jimmy Carter
The Reagan administration aided Iraq against Iran
"The Great Satan" vs "The Axis of Evil" Iran-Contra Affair
(missiles for hostages
and money for Contras) Iran claims that nuclear advancements are for electricity
Cooperation with nuclear sanctions is conditional
Its existance and lack of internatial cooperation has caused enormous tensions between Iran and US
Nuclear Arms Program The future of Iran is very unclear Chase Meadows Jiyang Xie Noah Farber-Jones
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