Iran the post-revolutionary evolution
Kerr, April L.
Gregg, Heather S.
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Following the 1979 Iranian revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini and his followers established a complicated and paradoxical government that combined an authoritative, theocratic government with democratic underpinnings. Although the structure of the government has remained relatively unchanged for almost three decades, the government's bureaucracy and policies have experienced an ongoing evolutionary process that has given rise to three distinct shifts with radicals, reformists, and conservative hard-liners taking turns steering the country and pressing different agendas. These three shifts present an interesting puzzle: given the strict authoritative nature of Iran's theocratic government, what is causing these behavior, policy, and agenda shifts? This thesis uses three analytical lenses to examine the causes of behavioral shifts since the 1979 Iranian revolution: 1979-1989, the Khomeini era; 1989-2004, the reformists; and 2004-present, the conservative hard liners. Each lens investigates a different cause of the shifts; a) civil society, b) bureaucratic politics, and c) international politics. The goal of this thesis is to better understand what is driving Iran's politics and governance and why. A thorough analysis using our three analytical lenses will provide a three dimensional perspective of the driving factor behind Iran's governmental politics. Our analytic method can also be used to analyze the governmental politics of other countries, and serve as a foundation for establishing effective foreign policy. Often, it seems foreign policy is formulated based upon a one dimensional view. All three lenses together provide a more comprehensive approach to understanding how governments react to internal and external pressures. It is important to understand the causes of governmental behavior in order to develop more effective foreign policies and achieve strategic goals.
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