refers to the space occupied by voluntary associations outside the state, for example, professional associations (lawyers, doctors, teachers), trade unions, student & women's groups, religious bodies, and other voluntary association groups. The term is similar to "society", although it implies a degree of organization absent from the more inclusive term "society".
a state dominated by the clergy, who rule on the grounds that they are the only interpreters of God's will and law.
Islamic law derived mostly from the Qur'an and the examples set by the Prophet Muhammad.
Muslim place of worship, equivalent to a church, temple, or synagogue.
Arabic term for "assembly"; used in Iran to describe the parliament.
Also known in the West as the Supreme Leader. He is the chief cleric who as "guide" heads the Islamic Republic.
a committee created in the Iranian constitution to oversee the Majles (the parliament).
Persian word for the Persian language. Fars is a province in Central Iran.
literally, "sign of God." High-ranking clerics in Iran. The most senior ones—often no more than half a dozen—are known as grand _________s.
People of the Book
the Muslim term for recognized religious minorities, such as Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians.
the Muslim Bible.
a forceful, extra-constitutional action resulting in the removal of an existing government
an urban marketplace where shops, workshops, small businesses, and export-importers are located.
a term recently popularized to describe radical religious movements throughout the world.
Khomeini's concept that the Iranian clergy should rule on the grounds that they are the divinely appointed guardians of both the law and the people. He developed this concept in the 1970s.
Persian term for guards, used to refer to the army of Revolutionary Guards formed during Iran's Islamic Revolution.
literally "partisans of God." In Iran, the term is used to describe religious vigilantes. In Lebanon, it is used to describe the Shi'i militia.
literally, "the proof of Islam." In Iran, it means a medium-ranking cleric.
the term taken from the French, which means, "to let do," in other words, to allow to act freely. In political economy, it refers to the pattern in which state management is limited to such matters as enforcing contracts and protecting property rights, while private market forces are free to operate with only minimal state regulation.
literally "struggle." Although often used to mean armed struggle against unbelievers, it can also mean spiritual struggle for self-improvement.
a country that obtains much of its revenue from the export of oil or other natural resources.
a society and economy that are sharply divided into a traditional, usually poorer, and a modern, usually richer, sector.
Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Founded in 1960 in Iran, Venezuela, and Saudi Arabia, it now includes most oil-exporting states with the notable exceptions of Mexico and former members of the Soviet Union. It tries to regulate prices by regulating production.
a committee set up in Iran to resolve differences between the Majles and the Guardian Council.
prayer leaders in Iran's main urban mosques. Appointed by the Supreme Leader, they have considerable authority in the provinces.
Foundation of the Oppressed
a clerically controlled foundation in Iran set up after the revolution there.
Assembly of Religious Experts
nominates the Supreme Leader and can replace him. The assembly is elected by the general electorate but almost all its members are clerics.
democrats who place as much stress on social rights such as access to education, health services, and housing as on individual rights.
Arabic term for "expediency," "prudence," or "advisability." It is now used in Iran to refer to reasons of state or what is best for the Islamic Republic.
He became the Iranian president in 2005. Since his inauguration, the government has closed down newspapers, banned censored books & websites, and no longer tolerates the peaceful demonstrations and protests of the Khatami era. Prominent scholars have been arrested.
axis of evil
Statement made by President Bush that created a stir of controversy regarding Iran's international relations with western countries.
loosely-organized military that is formally part of the Revolutionary Guards, and it gained international attention in the aftermath of the disputed presidential election of 2009, when the opposition candidate, Mir-Hussein Moussavi, accused it of brutality as it contained the demonstrations and addressed dissidents. Means "mass mobilization" in Persian, and it dates back to the Iran-Iraq war, when the Ayatollah Khomeini asked for civilian volunteers to go to the war front.
Faith, which Shiites believe to be an unholy offshoot of Islam, that has been a particular object of religious persecution. Their leaders have been executed, imprisoned, and tortured, their schools closed, and their community property taken away by the state.
Constitutional Revolution of 1905-1909
This revolution began with business owners and bankers demonstrating against the Qajars' move to hand over their customs collections to Europeans.