ISBN: 978-1-78738-803-1

Samira Aminihajibashi

Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO)

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Iran's 1979 revolution was among the most consequential events of the 20th century. The revolutionary coalition consisted of diverse political and social groups that mobilized and overthrew the monarchial rule in Iran. Focusing mostly on domestic events, this book provides an analytical assessment of the political history of the Islamic Republic. The author presents a chronological overview of the most significant pre-and post-revolution events, concepts, and tactics that led a temporary democratic triumph to a new authoritarian regime established and consolidated by one particular Islamist group of the coalition, the Khomeinists. Through descriptive analyses of the Islamic Republic's constitution, and its political, ideological, and economic structure, Kamrava explains why, despite varying national and foreign policies, the Islamic Republic has been unable to reach its revolutionary goals but also why economic corruption and governance have worsened, causing many observers to conclude that the regime is unreformable. In the final chapters, Kamrava provides insightful knowledge on how ideology and rhetoric have been used instrumentally both in foreign policy and unsuccessfully for building a new national identity and decreasing the growing sense of exclusion, especially among the country's diverse ethnic and ideological groups, youth, and women. There is a noteworthy discrepancy between the presented prevalence data on the religiosity of today's Iranian population and the most recent online research surveys that might be related to security concerns or methodological limitations. Moreover, although the national and the regime's interests are conflated when considering determinant factors of the Islamic Republic's foreign policy, the presented evidence indicates that the national interests have been barely considered in either domestic or foreign policies. Overall, the book provides a comprehensive and critical assessment of modern Iran.