Electoral politics is now an ingrained part of the

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Electoral politics is now an ingrained part of the Iranian polity o Elections reflect the influence of various power centers, and they have also become a way of integrating various social groups into the political system - Iranian elections are competitive, usually with high voter turnout o Both the contestation and participation dimensions of democracy are present o Not unlike elections under communist rule, voters have to choose from a set of hand-picked candidates o Candidates for office must be approved by the Guardian Council This is an approval based on their familiarity with Islamic doctrine, revolutionary credentials, and their broad acceptance of the principles of the revolution o This leads to prior disqualification of many presidential and legislative candidates in each election without the need for the Guardian Council to provide a detailed explanation for its actions For example, prior to the 2004 Majlis election, more than 30 percent (almost all reformists) were disqualified by the Guardian Council to ensure that the 7 th Majlis would be dominated by conservative deputies Civil Society - As the new revolutionary regime consolidated its power, it showed no restraint in its willingness to encroach on individual and civil rights in the name of “safeguarding the welfare of the community” - After the revolution, the clergy attempted to reinstall orthodoxy into public life o The education system at all levels was designed to impress the values of the Islamic state on students o The universities were cleared of “liberals” and restaffed with faculty that supported the regime - Many factors explain why Iran’s civil society continues to wage a tenacious fight o One of them is the demographic transformation of a country that is becoming increasingly urbanized, educated, and young o The growing distance from the experience of the shah’s rule and the revolution has made many Iranian youths reject as moribund the values promoted by the regime
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- The clergy’s efforts to restrict what it believes to be contaminating influences on TV and the internet have proved fruitless - The boundaries of press freedom are clear on certain issues and blurred on others o There can be no criticism of Islamic doctrines or its revered personalities o No criticism of Khomeini is permitted o Critical reportage of the treatment accorded to religious minorities is off limits o However, there are no guarantees that attacks on opposition groups and individuals will be punished - Notwithstanding this war against intellectual dissent, Iranian enjoy a lively print media Political Socialization - Iran’s human rights record leaves much to be desired o There’s a continued use of the death penalty, torture in prisons, campaign against journalists, and a culture of impunity for vigilantes who commit abuses against regime opponents Social Changes and Challenges - By 1979, there were more Iranians living in cities than in rural areas o Crowded cities created new social pressures -
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  • Spring '13
  • The Republic, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Pahlavi dynasty, Islamists

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