AP Comparative Government Iran
Terms in this set (30)
civil society in Iran
Since the revolution, Iran has been slow to develop a functioning civil society. Government insistence that all activities in Iran are in accordance with Islamic teachings is largely responsible for this fact.
As is true in China, the revolutionary credentials of the leadership
are an important source of legitimacy for the current Iranian regime. The use of competitive elections in choosing many key government officials further bolsters that legitimacy.
Sovereignty lies in
Political Participation in Iran
Citizens of Iran can join political parties that are approved by the government, run for elective office if approved by the government, petition the government on a limited range of issues, form interest groups if they are acceptable to the government, and vote for some government officials from lists of government-approved candidates.
Level of Transparency
Although some of the decisions of the Iranian government are made in a public way, the decisions of the Supreme Leader are open to little public scrutiny. In addition, questions remain about the independence of the judiciary as well as the inappropriate use of prosecutorial power for political ends.
a government ruled strictly by religion
the belief that religion and government should be separated.
Revolution of 1979
events involving overthrow of Iran's monarchy and its replacement with an Islamic republic under Ayatollah Khomeini, the leader of the revolution
Iranian religious leader of the Shiites; when Shah Pahlavi's regime fell Khomeini established a new constitution giving himself supreme powers (1900-1989)
Former shah of Iran, "Puppet Shah", Pro-Western led to Islamic revolution
Assembly of Religious Experts
elects and can dismiss the Supreme Leader
"represents the nation"
enacts ordinary laws (not sharia)
investigates and supervises affairs of state
approves or removes cabinet members
appoints half the members of the Guardian Council
from a list presented by the chief judge
can approve budgets, foreign loans, treaties
resolves conflicts between Majlis and Guardian Council
meets in secret
is the "vital link" between branches of government
determines the "interests of Islam"
can dismiss the president
is the commander-in-chief of the military and can appoint and dismiss officers
nominates and can remove judges and prosecutors
appoints half the members of the Guardian Council
appoints the Minister of Justice
appoints Imam Jum'ehs at principal city mosques
appoints the director of national radio and television
directs a staff of over 600
presents annual budget to Majlis
supervises economic matters
proposes legislation to Majlis
is chair of the National Security Council
appoints vice president(s) and cabinet (except Justice Minister)
appoints local governors and mayors
Elected Leaders in Iran
Assembly of Religious Experts
Unelected Leaders in Iran
Revolutionary Guard Officers
Nuclear Weapons and Iran
Iran is facing international scrutiny over the possibility that it is trying to develop nuclear weapons. Although Iran has stated that it wishes to develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, as is its right under international law, it has also stated that it is not fair that five powers have the legal right to nuclear weapons while the rest of the
world does not. This, despite the fact that Iran is a party to the NNPT (Nuclear NonProliferation Treaty), which allows the five permanent members of the UN Security Council to legally possess nuclear weapons, while banning the further spread of nuclear weapons.
Key Social Cleavages
Religious, Ethnic, Regional, Reformist/Conservative, Rich/Poor
Cleavages - Ethnicity
Although a majority of Iranians are ethnically Persian, Iran is actually ethnically diverse. The breakdown of the population by ethnicity is as follows: Persian 51%, Azeri 24%, Gilaki and Mazandarani 8%, Kurd 7%, Arab 3%, Lur 2%, Baloch 2%, Turkmen 2%, other 1%. Iran's main ethnic minorities, especially the Azeris, Balochs, and Kurds continue to struggle against the Iranian government's failure to uphold their economic, social, and cultural rights as well as their civil and political rights.
Cleavages - Religion
Although 98% of the Iranian population is Muslim, religious tensions have a significant impact on the Iranian political landscape. The official religion in Iran is Shi'a Islam,
specifically the Twelver Ja'fari school of Shi'a Islam. Yet, the constitution requires that all other schools of Islamic thought be given full respect. The Iranian constitution also recognizes three historically present religious minorities - Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians. The largest non-
Muslim religious minority in Iran, the Baha'i, is not officially recognized.
Union of political and religious authority is a central component of Iranian political culture
Union of political and religious authority- From the days
of the ancient Persians, political and religious leaders were often one and the same. However, starting with the rule of the Qajars (1794-1925), the two types of authority were separated, only to be brought back together by the Revolution of 1979.
Shiism and sharia are central components of Iranian political culture
Shiism and sharia as central components - Today almost
90% of all Iranians identify themselves as Shiite, a fact that
links citizens to the government, which is officially a theocracy. Islamic law, the sharia, is an important source of legitimacy that the modem government particularly emphasizes.
the principle advanced by Ayatollah Khomeini that the clerics have authority over the Islamic community because of their understanding of sharia
Strong sense of Iranian nationalism is a central component of Iranian political culture
Public opinion surveys show that Iranians in general have a stronger sense of national identity than do citizens of most Arab countries. As a result, they are more likely to identify themselves as Iranians first and Muslims second. Their Persian roots encourage the perception that Iran is a distinct culture, and pride in being Iranian is quite pronounced.
Cleavages - social class
The peasantry and lower middle class are sources of support for the regime, partly because they have benefited from the government's social programs that have provided them with electricity and paved roads. However, middle and upper-middle class people are largely secularized, and so they tend to be highly critical of the clerics and their control of the society. Many middle-class people have not fared well economically during the years since the Republic was founded. As a result, their cultural and political views of secularism are reinforced by their economic problems, creating discontent and opposition to the regime.
Cleavages - Pragmatic conservatives v. radical clerics
The complicated set of cleavages in Iran is made more complex by distinct divisions among the clergy that have led to many important disagreements at the top levels of policymaking. Pragmatic conservatives are clergy who favor liberal economic policies that encourage foreign trade, free markets, and direct foreign investment. They base their points of view on strong personal ties to middle-class merchants (bazaaris) and rural landowners
who have long supported mosques and religious activities.
Conservatives argue that private property and economic
inequality are protected under Islamic law. They are generally willing to tum over economic management to liberally inclined technocrats. Radicals are more numerous among younger and more militant clerics, and they call for measures to enhance social justice, especially in terms of providing welfare benefits to Iran's poor. Radicals generally endorse state-sponsored wealth redistribution and price controls.
Cleavages - Reformers v. conservatives
A fundamental cleavage in the political culture since the founding of the Republic has to do with a debate about the merits of a theocracy v. a democracy. The conservatives want to keep the regime as it is, under the control of clerics and sharia law, and the reformers would like to see more secularization and democracy. Most reformers do not want to do away with the basic principles of an Islamic state, but they display a wide array of opinions about how much and where secularization and democracy should be infused into the system.
He was elected as Iran's President in 2005. He was a religious conservative who supported the system of ruling clerics. Main ideas were stamping out corruption and providing aid to the poor. He also strongly defended Iran's right to a nuclear program.
current Iranian President, seen as a moderate more willing to engage the West,
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