Power, Islam, and Political Elite in Iran

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.

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Eva P. Rakel, Ph.D. (2008) in Political Science, University of Amsterdam, is Lecturer at the University of Amsterdam. She has published various articles on socio-economic developments in Iran and its foreign policy.
"[A]n important contribution to understanding a country that defies easy classification." Ray Takeyh, Survival: Global Politics and Strategy, Vol. 54, No. 2 (2012), pp. 183-184.
Maps, Tables, Figures, and Appendices

Chapter 1 Theoretical Framework
1.1 Introduction
1.2 The Nature of the Political System in the Islamic Republic of Iran
1.3 Studies of the Political Elite
1.4 The Iranian Political Elite
1.5 Foreign Policy and Geopolitics
1.6 The Role of Shi’ism in the Foreign Policy of the IRI
1.7 Summary

Chapter 2 Power Structures and Factional Rivalries in the Islamic Republic of Iran
2.1 Introduction
2.2 The Formal Power Structure
2.3 The Informal Power Structure
2.4 Economic Resources of the Political Elite
2.5 Elite Recruitment
2.6 Factional Rivalries since the Islamic Revolution
2.7 Summary

Chapter 3 Factional Rivalries and Economic Policies
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Economic Restructuring during Khomeini’s Leadership (1979-1989)
3.3 Economic Reform during Rafsanjani’s Presidency (1989-1997)
3.4 Economic Impasse during Khatami’s Presidency
3.5 Poverty Alleviation-The Main Goal since Ahmadinejad’s Presidency 2005
3.6 Summary

Chapter 4 Factional Rivalries and Socio-Cultural Developments
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Socio-Cultural Developments during Khomeini’s Leadership (1979-1989)
4.3 Socio-Cultural Developments during Rafsanjani’s Presidency 1989-1997
4.4 Socio-Cultural Developments during Khatami’s Presidency 1997-2005
4.5 Socio-Cultural Developments during Ahmadinejad’s Presidency (since 2005)
4.6 Summary

Chapter 5 Factional Rivalries and Foreign Policy
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Foreign Policy Decision-Making in the Islamic Republic of Iran
5.3 Foreign Policy in the Period of Khomeini’s Leadership (1979-1989)
5.4 Foreign Policy during Rafsanjani’s Presidency (1989-1997)
5.5 Foreign Policy during Khatami’s Presidency (1997-2005)
5.6 Foreign Policy since Ahmadinejad’s Presidency (2005-2008)

Chapter 6 Factional Rivalries and Iran-European Union Relations
6.1 Introduction
6.2 Iran-European Union Relations during Khomeini’s Leadership (1979-1989)
6.3 Iran-European Union Relations during Rafsanjani’s Presidency (1989-1997)
6.4 Iran-European Union Relations during Khatami’s Presidency (1997-2005)
6.5 Iran-European Union Relations since Ahmadinejad’s Presidency (2005-)
6.6 Summary

Chapter 7 The European Union Policy towards Iran
7.1 Introduction
7.2 The Critical and Comprehensive Dialogue
7.3 Iran-European Union Energy Policy Dialogue
7.4 Iran-European Union Working Group on Trade and Investment
7.5 Iran-European Union Human Rights Dialogue
7.6 The Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
7.7 Summary


Importnt websites from Iran of members of the political elite, state organizations, non-governmental organizations, and Intellectuals/political activists
All those interested in elite studies, politics and international relations of Iran, the Middle East, Iran-European Union relations, as well as political scientists and sociologists.