A Study on the Iranian Political Elite from Khomeini to Ahmadinejad
Author: Eva Rakel
The Iranian Islamic revolution brought about a political system based on a combination of state institutions that derive their legitimacy from Islamic law and republican institutions legitimized by the people. As there are no legal political parties in the Islamic Republic of Iran, political factions represent the varying ideological and material interests of members of the political elite and their supporters. This book analyzes the rivalries between the political factions and their related state institutions and the impact of the dynamics of factionalism on domestic (economic and socio-cultural) and foreign policy formulation. It shows that tensions inherent to the structure of state institutions and factional rivalries slow down the process of democratization and economic reforms in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Author: Eva Rakel

Abstract

Iran and CEA have historically close links going back as far as the sixth century BC when the Persian Achaemenid Empire conquered the region. For a long time, Persian was the main language of the elite in CEA. Since the disintegration of the USSR, Iran has been determined to re-strengthen its position in CEA, particularly in economic and security terms. Iran is an active player in the Economic Co-operation Organization (ECO). It also promotes the construction of southern pipelines from CEA to export the region's oil and gas resources as it hopes to profit from it for its own oil and gas export. However, it has to be noted that Iran in no way is a dominant player in the region. The rivalry between the various political factions of the Iranian political elite - the Conservative Traditional Right (Rast-e Sonati), Traditionalist left (Chap-e Sonati), Revolutionary or New Left or Hizbollah, Conservative Modern Right Rast-e Modern - leads to incoherence in Iran's foreign policy and makes Iran an unreliable actor to cooperate with not only the countries of CEA but also for other countries interested in the region (i.e., the United States, European Union, Turkey, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia). Additionally, the great national economic problems in Iran are an obstacle for Iran to become more active economically in CEA.

In: Perspectives on Global Development and Technology

Abstract

This article analyzes Iranian foreign policy since the Iranian Islamic revolution of 1979. The main questions to be dealt with are: what influences has the Iranian Islamic revolution had on foreign policy orientation and formulation of the Islamic Republic of Iran? What influences has Shi'ism had on foreign policy formulation in Iran? What impact have Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, and the three presidents Hojjatoleslam Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Hojjatoleslam Mohammad Khatami, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had on foreign policy orientation? Have there been major shifts in foreign policy orientation during their tenures or has the overall foreign policy approach that was introduced by Khomeini after the revolution in 1979 remained the same? The article will first discuss the history of Shi'ism in Iran and its impact on politics since the introduction of Islam as state religion in the beginning of the sixteenth century by the Safavid Empire. It will then give an introduction to power relations in Iran since the Iranian Islamic revolution and analyze foreign policy orientation in Iran in four phases: (1) from 1979 to 1989, when Khomeini was the Supreme Leader; (2) from 1989-1997, during the presidency of Rafsanjani; (3) from 1997-2005, during the presidency of Khatami; and (4) since Ahmadinejad's presidency began in 2005.

In: Perspectives on Global Development and Technology
In: The Greater Middle East in Global Politics
In: Secure Oil and Alternative Energy
In: The Globalization of Energy