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By Fakhreddin Azimi

The Constitutional Revolution of 1906 introduced Iran as a pioneer in a broad-based flow to set up democratic rule within the non-Western international. In a booklet that offers crucial context for realizing glossy Iran, Fakhreddin Azimi lines a century of fight for the institution of consultant government.

The promise of constitutional rule used to be minimize brief within the Nineteen Twenties with the increase of the Pahlavi dynasty. Reza Shah, whose despotic rule Azimi deftly captures, maintained the façade of a constitutional monarch yet greeted any problem with an iron fist: “I will dispose of you,” he oftentimes barked at his officers. In 1941, afraid of wasting regulate of the oil-rich area, the Allies compelled Reza Shah to abdicate yet allowed Mohammad Reza to be triumphant his father. notwithstanding promising to abide by means of the structure, the recent Shah neglected no chance to undermine it.

The Anglo-American–backed coup of 1953, which ousted reformist preferable Mohammed Mosaddeq, dealt a blow to the constitutionalists. The Shah’s repressive guidelines and subservience to the USA radicalized either secular and non secular rivals, resulting in the revolution of 1979. Azimi argues that we've got essentially misunderstood this occasion by means of characterizing it as an “Islamic” revolution while it was once in truth the expression of a long-repressed hope for renowned sovereignty. This explains why the clerical rulers have didn't counter the transforming into public conviction that the Islamic Republic, too, is impervious to political reform―and why the democratic impulse that started with the Constitutional Revolution is still a powerful and resilient force.

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Extra resources for The Quest for Democracy in Iran: A Century of Struggle against Authoritarian Rule

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4 The question of which factor or set of factors should be given greater analytical weight can be answered only in the specific historical circumstances of a particular society. Far from being a political history in the narrow sense, this book investigates how public alienation, resentment, resistance, and demands for change were articulated or expressed, violently or otherwise, at specific junctures; how the state’s indifference to a politics of recognition reduced its capacity to contain public disaffection; how a culture of confrontation between the state and its opponents was reinforced at the expense of a public space of dialogue.

The insouciant royalist apologists of authoritarian rule discredited the very procedures that were meant to lend legitimacy to the political process, and cynically invoked such procedures when it suited them. The clericalIslamist rulers have maintained a truncated form of procedural participation, have not publicly disparaged representative institutions, and have paid lip service to accountability and transparency; at the same time they have resisted a freely competitive electoral politics and have shown little appreciation of the core components of real republican governance and of the civic virtues that it requires and nurtures.

Acquiring a distinctly modern connotation thanks to the rapid spread of print culture 30 Constituting a National Community after 1906, “nation” (mellat) came increasingly to denote a community defined by a common culture and entitled to self-rule. Crafting a modern nation-state became an integral and crucial component of the Constitutional Revolution. The fact that Iran was formally independent helped a powerful manifestation of Iranian nationalism to assume a more distinctly civic, inclusive, reformist, and antidespotic character.

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