Few countries today appear so erratic and unknowable as Iran, where Islamist president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's increasingly militant pronouncements keep leaders awake at night from Washington to Paris. Despite President Bush's assertion that the spread of democracy will sweep away intolerance in the Muslim world, Ahmadinejad's ascent represented a sharp popular rebuke to the republic's clerical establishment. Gheissari, a history professor, and Nasr, a professor of Middle East and South Asian politics, both of whom have written widely about Iran, attempt to determine the boundaries of Tehran's democratic culture and institutions in this political and intellectual history. Their project is only partly successful, however, given the authors' persistent blind spots. They assert that "in many regards, there is more progress toward democracy in Iran than in any other country in the Middle East, perhaps with the exception of Turkey," which would be highly suspect even if one accepted the Iranian position that Israel does not exist. In their detailed dissection of Ahmadinejad's election, they make little of the fact that reformers and liberals largely boycotted the vote. Despite its flaws, Gheissari and Nasr's book offers a revealing glimpse into the paths that democratic ideas have traveled there both before and after the 1979 revolution. (June)
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"A clear and readable account of politics in the Islamic Republic."--The Washington Post
Democracy in Iran provides a good base to dive deeper into understanding the political history of Iran. Read morePublished on September 3, 2011 by Stephen List
My impression is that the author wants democracy to develop (further) in Iran, but may be too optimistic about its prospects -- at least in the short term, without clear plans on... Read morePublished on November 30, 2010 by D. Harris
An excellent history of modern Iran and the Islamic Republic, as well as the struggle for democracy, all the way up until Ahmadinejad and the elections he stole and the democracy... Read morePublished on January 23, 2010 by John Roemer
In this book, Gheissari and Nasr propose to use Iran as a way to study the relationship between democracy and the state. Read morePublished on April 24, 2009 by Enjolras