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Transcript of Iran
Area: 636,371 square miles
Population: 79,476, 308 (2015)
Religion: Shitte Muslim (89%), Sunni Muslim (9%), Jews/Baha’is/Zoroastrians/and Christians (2%)
Ethnic Groups: Persian (61%), Azeri (16%), Kurd (10%), Lur (6%), Baluch (2%), Arab (2%), Turkmen and Turkic Tribes (2%), other (1%)
Official Language: Persian (53%), Zeri Turk and Turkic Dialects (18%), Kurdish (10%), Gilaki and Mazandarani (7%), Luri (6%), Baluchi (2%), Arabic (2%), other (2%)
Type of Government: Theocratic Republic
GDP: $482.24 billion USD (2011)
History of State Formation
Cyrus the Great established the first Perisan Empire in the 6th century BC, which was expanded by his grandson Darius
The Safavid Dynasty: 1501-1722
The Qajar Dynasty: 1785-1925
1921: Military officer Reza Khan established the Pahlavi dynasty and declared himself the shah.
The Allied Powers recognized his son, Mohammad Reza Shah as king post WWII, but PM Mohammad Mossadeq forced Shah him to leave Iran in 1953.
US and Britain intelligence services helped to organize the 1953 coup which reinstated Reza Shah to power.
Current People in Power
President: Hassan Rouhani
Institutions and Governance
Sets all policies, commands armed forces, makes final decisions on all appointed officials
12 members: 6 clerics, 6 jurists, 6 year terms
Approves/rejects legislation passed by parliament
Approves/rejects candidates for president, parliament, and elections
310 members, mix of conservatives and reformists
Approves monetary budgets
Assembly of Experts:
86 Muslim Scholars elected by public
Selects Supreme Leader
IN THEORY can remove Supreme leader in cases o incapacitation or corruption
Advises Supreme Leader on policy, resolves deadlocks between lawmakers and Guardian Council
Candidates vetted through councils, but ultimately the Supreme Leader chooses the final 2 candidates
Performs administrative role rather than executive role
Proposes monetary budget
Led by President
Assists president in implementing policies set by the Supreme Leader and laws passed by Parliament
National Security Council:
Led by president
Sets broad definitions of national security offenses
Cultural Revolution Council:
Led by president
Sets Islamic principles for all educational organizations
Sets Islamic rules for permissible Internet content and printed materials
Rula Tareq and Sarah Evans
Religion and Politics
Regional and International Politics
The 2nd largest economy in the MENA after Saudi Arabia
Oil: 85% of export commodities, and 40-50% of government revenue
Challenges: Revolution, Iran-Iraq War, brain drain, low investment capital
Inflation: 45% in July 2013 (peak), 16% in January 2015
Youth unemployment: 77m people unemployed, 60% under 30 = 11 million unemployed youth
Supreme Leader: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the previous supreme leader of Iran, the Iranian religious and political landscapes of the country were dramatically transformed, making Shitte Islam an inseparable emement of the country's current political structure.
After 1979 Iran took on many features of an ideological state in the international order, and it adopted a worldview of Islamic internationalism. After the death of Khomeini in 1989, the government took a pragmatic turn and normalized most of its diplomatic relations.
Today Iran maintains strong alliances with Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon, and some political factions in Palestine. They are not as cordial with Egypt, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen.
Iranian politicians have an undercurrent suspicion against the West and especially the United States. Iran’s need for trade access and foreign investment works against the ideologically driven concern for self reliance and in turn has severed many relations with the international community.
Couples that want a marriage license are required to take an hour-long lecture on contraception.
In 2012, Iran’s Police chief announced that Google is a tool for spying and blocked access to it within the country.
Iran is one of the only countries in the world that doesn't have an organ donation shortage
Iran suffers from very high unemplyment
Differences in Classes and Politics: Professional, Middle Class, Urban/Rural Poor
The Supreme Leader Essentially runs everything in the country
Can Iran Reconcile Theocracy and Democracy?
"65 Interesting Facts About Iran." <i>65 Interesting Facts about Iran</i>. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Sept. 2015.
"How Iran's Government Works." <i>Voice of America</i>. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2015.
"Iran-Iraq War." <i>Encyclopedia Britannica Online</i>. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 14 Sept. 2015.
"Iran." <i>The Middle East / Edited by Ellen Lust</i>. Ed. Ellen Lust. N.p.: n.p., n.d. 478-506. Print.
"Middle Eastern Politics." <i>Understanding the Contemporary Middle East</i>. Ed. Jillian Schwedler. N.p.: n.p., n.d. 129-32. Print.
January 1977: Carter human rights concerns
Response: opening up, releasing 357 dissidents
October: Khomeini’s son found murdered in Iran
January 1978: 4000 religious students protested in Tehran
Black Friday September 8th - shootings in Zhaleh Square; point of no return
January 1979: The shah left for a “vacation”
September 22, 1980 - July 20, 1998
Oil-rich Iranian region of Khuzestan, inciting rebellion in Iraqi Shiite population.
1-2 million killed total, 500,000 invalids, $228 billion costs, and $400 billion in damages.
Iran: Less sophisticated military, loss of officers.
30m vs 18m people
Chemical weapons (Iraq), ballistic missiles on cities (mostly Iraq), 500 attacks on third-party oil tankers in the Persian Gulf.
Iraqi sovereignty over Shatt al Arab river
Iran: momentum and legitimacy
Iran Hostage Crisis
Iran Nuclear Deal
It would Curb Iran's Nuclear Programs, but It still allows Iran to continue enrichment
If Iran doesn't comply, sanctions can return
It sets up a comprehensive inspections regime
Congress has to approve the deal
The deal essentially sets Iran back 12 months away from enough weapons grade uranium as opposed to previously being 4 months away.
November 4, 1979 - January 20, 1981, 444 days
A group of Iranian students took over the Iranian embassy in Tehran
52 American diplomats and citizens were held
Hurt Carter, strengthened Khomeini, beginning of U.S. sanctions
It is important to note that Iran essentially does not have any political parties. Everything is mandated by the state and correlates with what the Supreme Leader defines as "Sharia Law"