Mullahs, Guards, and Bonyads: An Exploration of Iranian Leadership Dynamics [NOOK Book]

Overview


The U.S. ability to "read" the Iranian regime and formulate appropriate policies has been weakened by lack of access to the country and by the opacity of decisionmaking in Tehran. To improve understanding of Iran's political system, the authors describe Iranian strategic culture; investigate Iran's informal networks, formal government institutions, and personalities; assess the impact of elite behavior on Iranian policy; and summarize key trends.
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Mullahs, Guards, and Bonyads: An Exploration of Iranian Leadership Dynamics

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Overview


The U.S. ability to "read" the Iranian regime and formulate appropriate policies has been weakened by lack of access to the country and by the opacity of decisionmaking in Tehran. To improve understanding of Iran's political system, the authors describe Iranian strategic culture; investigate Iran's informal networks, formal government institutions, and personalities; assess the impact of elite behavior on Iranian policy; and summarize key trends.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780833049308
  • Publisher: RAND Corporation
  • Publication date: 1/4/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 168
  • File size: 3 MB

Table of Contents

Preface iii

Figures ix

Summary xi

Acknowledgments xxi

Abbreviations xxiii

Chapter 1 Introduction: Leadership Dynamics in the Islamic Republic of Iran 1

Chapter 2 Assertiveness and Caution in Iranian Strategic Culture 5

Iran: The Conquering and Conquered Nation 6

Nationalism as a Tool of Policy 9

A New Revolutionary Paradigm 13

Exporting the Revolution 14

From Revolution to Pragmatism-and Back Again? 16

The End of Pragmatism? 17

Challenges to Iranian Power 19

Chapter 3 Formal Structures of the Islamic Republic 21

The Supreme Leader 24

The President 25

The Majles 27

The Assembly of Experts 28

The Guardian Council 29

The Expediency Council 30

The Judiciary 31

The Supreme National Security Council 32

The Strategic Council for Foreign Relations 33

Iran's Security Forces 33

Concluding Remarks: Formal Structures 35

Chapter 4 Factionalism and the Primacy of Informal Networks 37

The System: A Web of Personalities, Networks, and Institutions 39

A Men's Club of Key Personalities 43

The Supreme Leader: A Dominant Personality, but His Power Is Not Limitless 44

Other Personalities: Prominence Is Tied to Proximity to the Supreme Leader 48

A New Generation 51

Informal Networks and Patronage Systems of the Khodi 52

The 1980s: Era of the Clerics 54

The 1990s: Era of the Bonyads 56

The 2000s: Era of the Revolutionary Guards 58

Formal Institutional Structure as a Playing Field for Informal Networks 64

Factions: Supernetworks of Individuals, Relationships, and Power Centers 67

Concluding Remarks: Factionalism and Informal Networks 73

Chapter 5 The Nexus of Domestic Politics and Policymaking in Iran 75

Foreign Policy as a Backdrop for Domestic Politics 76

Factional Policy Differences 78

Iranian Policy in the Middle East: Factional Determinants and Geopolitical Context 82

Factional Views of Middle East Policy 84

Summary: Leadership Dynamics and Iranian Middle East Policy 91

The Nuclear Case: Factionalism, Personality, and Policymaking 92

The Reformist Approach: Building Confidence Abroad, Losing Ground at Home 93

The Principlist Approach: Maintaining "Steadfastness" 95

Factionalism and Personal Rivalry Deepen Under Ahmadinejad 97

Khamenei's Factional Preferences Regarding the Nuclear Issue 102

Summary: Leadership Dynamics and Iranian Nuclear Policy 106

The Emergence of the Economy as a Factional Battleground 107

Summary: Leadership Dynamics and Iranian Economic Policy 112

Concluding Remarks: Domestic Politics and Policymaking 113

Chapter 6 Conclusion: Power and Politics in the Islamic Republic 115

Key Observations on How the Iranian Political System Works 115

The Informal Trumps the Formal and Is the System 116

The Supreme Leader Retains the Most Power, but He Is Not Omnipotent 116

Factional Competition Drives Political Discourse and Policymaking 118

Iran's Domestic Power Politics Are Highly Dynamic and Periodic 119

Emerging Trends to Watch in Iran 120

The Revolutionary Guards: Will They Rise or Fall? 120

The Old Guard: Vulnerable to Challenge? 122

The Next Supreme Leader: Who or What Will Succeed Khamenei? 123

Concluding Thoughts for U.S. Policymakers 124

Bibliography 127

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