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Understanding Iran

Understanding Iran

Jerrold D. Green
Frederic Wehrey
Charles Wolf
Copyright Date: 2009
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 166
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  • Book Info
    Understanding Iran
    Book Description:

    A compact, user-friendly handbook for U.S. policymakers interested in understanding the Islamic Republic of Iran. It synthesizes existing analyses on Iran and draws from non-American experts with a different interpretive lens for viewing the seemingly opaque Iranian system. It provides short analytic observations about the processes, institutions, networks, and actors that define Iran's politics, strategy, economic policy, and diplomacy.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4677-2
    Subjects: Political Science, Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Figures and Tables
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Summary
    (pp. ix-xvi)
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  7. Abbreviations
    (pp. xix-xxii)
  8. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-4)

    The genesis of this guidebook can be traced to a seeming paradox: The more that political actors and observers in the United States talk about the Islamic Republic of Iran, the more apparent it becomes that little is known about this uniquely complex polity. And this lack of knowledge transcends partisan and ideological boundaries—all interested players, regardless of their political leanings or underlying motivations, suffer from America’s collective ignorance about Iran. In part we can attribute this lack of knowledge to the fact that most Americans are denied sustained access to Iran. So, too, can we attribute it to...

  9. CHAPTER TWO Features of the Iranian System
    (pp. 5-46)

    In this chapter, we explore the Iranian system, concentrating on the following features:

    The political landscape. We look at the key institutions of the political elite, focusing particularly on the important role of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as a mediator of Iran’s policy disputes and the growing domestic primacy of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

    The economy. The subjects here are Iran’s oil-dependent economy and its attendant pathologies; the sensitivity of Iran’s gross domestic product (GDP) to fluctuations in world oil prices and the value of Iran’s oil exports; the myriad government entities involved in economic policy formulation...

  10. CHAPTER THREE Conclusion: Iran Is Unlike Other Countries but Hardly Beyond Understanding
    (pp. 47-48)

    Our goal for this handbook was not to prescribe policy or to advocate, but to illuminate the deeper workings and processes of the Iranian system. The need for this illumination, apparent for some time, was made all the more apparent by the disclosure of the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE). In its revision of previous findings on Iran’s nuclearcapabilities, the NIE came to an important conclusion about Iranianintentionsandmotivationsin positing that Iran halted its weaponization effort “primarily in response to increasing international scrutiny and pressure resulting from exposure of Iran’s previously undeclared nuclear work.”¹

    Over the...

  11. APPENDIX A Workshop Agenda
    (pp. 49-50)
  12. APPENDIX B Workshop Papers
    (pp. 51-128)
  13. APPENDIX C Biographies of Workshop Participants
    (pp. 129-140)
  14. References
    (pp. 141-144)