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Modern Iran

Modern Iran: Roots and Results of Revolution

Nikki R. Keddie
with a section by Yann Richard
Copyright Date: 2006
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 406
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  • Book Info
    Modern Iran
    Book Description:

    In this substantially revised and expanded version of Nikki Keddie's classic workRoots of Revolution,the author brings the story of modern Iran to the present day, exploring the political, cultural, and social changes of the past quarter century. Keddie provides insightful commentary on the Iran-Iraq war, the Persian Gulf War, and the effects of 9/11 and Iran's strategic relationship with the U.S. She also discusses developments in education, health care, the arts, and the role of women.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-19473-9
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface to the 2006 Edition
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Preface to the 2003 Edition
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  6. Preface to the 1981 edition of Roots of Revolution
    (pp. xvii-xx)
    Nikki R. Keddie
  7. 1 Religion and Society to 1800
    (pp. 1-21)

    The 1978–79 Revolution and its aftermath awakened for the first time in twenty-five years widespread public interest in Iran—and, to a large degree, bafflement and incomprehension. This revolution did not fit the patterns and expectations of even the relatively well informed. Where before had one seen a leader of an established religion emerge as the widely popular, charismatic head of a revolution against a royal ruler who stressed his own legitimacy, his ties to the national past, and his reformist plans? And where before had one seen a state bristling with armaments worth billions of dollars, armed forces,...

  8. 2 Foundations of Nineteenth-Century Iran
    (pp. 22-36)

    In addition to the factors just discussed, other forces were at work in nineteenth-century Iran shaping a political and socioeconomic situation that culminated in revolt and rebellion. During this period the economy and society were gradually transformed through interaction with the increasingly industrialized and imperialist West. Although earlier, via trade, the West had had an impact on Iran as on other Asian countries, the industrial revolution made the West a growing exporter of manufactured goods that could often be sold more cheaply than locally produced handicrafts and hence it undermined local handicraft production. This had partially disruptive socioeconomic effects. At...

  9. 3 Continuity and Change Under the Qajars: 1796–1890
    (pp. 37-57)

    Political and socioeconomic developments of the Qajar period may be understood against the above general background. Iran was reunified in the nineteenth century under the Qajar dynasty (1796–1925), which owed its long life, despite unpopularity, largely to repeated support from the two European powers most involved in Iran—Great Britain and Russia. The Qajars were preceded by the late eighteenth-century Zands, who ruled from the southern city of Shiraz and like the Qajars were of tribal origin. The Zands were one of Iran’s few very popular dynasties. They protected trade, built bazaars, shrines, and caravanserais, and were personally benevolent....

  10. 4 Protest and Revolution: 1890–1914
    (pp. 58-72)

    The economic and political dislocations brought by the Western impact included the undermining of most Iranian handicrafts, the transformation of carpet weavers into laborers working for a pittance, the fall in prices of Iranian exports as compared to European imports, and a disastrous drop in the international price of silver, the basis of Iran’s currency. These developments, along with the difficulty of being a trader independent of Europeans and the impossibility of setting up protected factories, led to growing economic discontents and resentment against European rivals. Even though some rural and urban groups benefited from trade with the West, they...

  11. 5 War and Reza Shah: 1914–1941
    (pp. 73-104)

    World War I brought new problems and devastation to Iran. It promoted revolutionary and democratic sentiment and fueled the desire among many to reconstruct Iran as an independent country. New movements for social change came to a head in the postwar period.

    When war began, the Iranian government declared neutrality, but Iran was strategically located and four powers used it as a battlefield. The Turks moved into Azerbaijan in the fall of 1914, after the Russians withdrew. The Germans played on Iranian anti-British and anti-Russian sentiments. The Kaiser was presented as a partisan of Islam, and Iranians were urged to...

  12. 6 World War II and Mosaddeq: 1941–1953
    (pp. 105-131)

    With World War II, Reza Shah and his development program came to a sudden end and new problems appeared. During the war the United States became a key influence, while Russian and British activity in Iran continued.

    At the outbreak of war, in September 1939, German influence in Iran was paramount. German agents were active, and the shah’s sympathy for the Germans was no secret. This sympathy caused concern once the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941. After that the Germans wanted to use Iran as a base against the Soviet Union, and the Allies needed Iran as...

  13. 7 Royal Dictatorship: 1953–1977
    (pp. 132-169)

    The overthrow of the nationalist Mosaddeq regime in August 1953 by an American- and British-supported coup changed postwar Iran’s situation in several basic ways, most of which remained important for the quarter century of ensuing dictatorial rule. First, the United States, which had had in the early postwar period an uneasy partnership with Britain in influencing Iran—the British monopolizing oil while the United States dominated in military and governmental advice and support—now became the dominant foreign power in Iran. This was reflected in the United States taking a 40 percent share in the oil consortium in 1954—the...

  14. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  15. 8 Modern Iranian Political Thought
    (pp. 170-213)

    Before coming to contemporary Shi’i thought it will be useful to discuss briefly literary and intellectual trends that formed part of the background for more recent writers and thinkers. (Premodern religious trends—majoritarian and dissident—were discussed in chapter 1 and will be given relatively minor attention here.)

    The “two-cultures” phenomenon in Iran (that is, different cultures for the elite and the masses) is largely a phenomenon of the Pahlavi period, before which there was a gradation but no sharp break between elite and popular cultures. This can be seen in such elementary spheres as dress, homes, styles of furnishing,...

  16. 9 The Revolution
    (pp. 214-239)

    The continuing growth of malaise and discontent among most sections of the Iranian population as despotism and repression increased in the 1970s, promised political and economic decentralization failed to materialize, and economic difficulties grew in 1976 and 1977, despite huge oil income, led to an outbreak of opposition beginning in 1977. The appearance of open opposition to the shah would likely have occurred soon in any case, but its form and timing were to some degree a consequence of the human-rights policy enunciated by President Carter, inaugurated in January 1977, which implied that countries guilty of basic human-rights violations might...

  17. 10 Politics and Economics under Khomeini: 1979–1989
    (pp. 240-262)

    The Iranian Revolution of 1978–79, like many revolutions, united several groups, classes, and parties with disparate ideas who were against the old regime. As in many revolutions, the coalition did not long outlast victory. Iran’s revolution also had distinctive features, especially the unique leading role of clerics. Some revolutions have had religious ideologies, but clerical rule after a revolution was new. Most nonclerics in the opposition underestimated both the probability of clerical rule and the ability of the clergy to rule—this was true of Khomeini’s Islamic but nonclerical Paris advisers, of various liberal and leftist groups, and also...

  18. 11 Politics and Economics in Post-Khomeini Iran
    (pp. 263-284)

    The post-Khomeini era can be divided into two major periods: From mid-1989 to spring 1997 President Hashemi Rafsanjani, generally allied with Leader (also called faqih) Khamene’i, led a government that achieved some economic reconstruction and improved Iran’s foreign relations. It was not, however, able or willing to attempt changes that would have dramatically improved Iran’s domestic and foreign situation or significantly decreased controls on personal behavior. From 1997 the reformist Mohammad Khatami and other reformists won several elections with huge majorities and instituted increased freedom of the press and in other cultural matters and some reforms, but there was a...

  19. 12 Society, Gender, Culture, and Intellectual Life
    (pp. 285-316)

    Many social and cultural changes have taken place in Iran since the revolution, several of which have influenced or been influenced by the political and economic changes discussed in chapters 10 and 11. Some areas of society, culture, and gender relations contrast with the often negative picture of political and economic trends described in those chapters, though nearly all embody contradictions and do not mitigate disillusionment with the regime. These more positive developments have several aspects: some are due to largely successful government programs in rural development, health, family planning, and education, including the unanticipated consequences of such programs, while...

  20. Conclusion
    (pp. 317-322)

    Beginning in the nineteenth century and continuing with far greater rapidity since the time of Reza Shah, Iran has seen a process of modernization that, like all such processes, has had both positive and negative aspects in terms of the welfare of the general population. It has opened up possibilities for richer and freer lives for many people, but these possibilities have often either gone unrealized or been realized in partial and contradictory ways. Contrary to a widespread view, the process of modernization of society and culture has continued under the Islamic Republic, especially in such aspects as the spread...

  21. Epilogue Iran since Early 2003
    (pp. 323-346)

    The most salient political development in Iran since early 2003 has been the strengthening of conservative and hard-line tendencies in the government, especially after the undemocratic parliamentary elections of February 2004 and the presidential election of Mahmud Ahmadinejad in June 2005. These electoral results do not mean that the Iranian electorate has suddenly become hard-line conservative after the huge victories of the reformist Mohammad Khatami in 1997 and 2001. Rather, they partly expressed disillusionment with the prospect of reform by clerics after Khatami was unable to stand up to contrary moves by Leader Khamene’i or to the reassertion of the...

  22. Notes
    (pp. 347-382)
  23. Select Bibliography of Books in English
    (pp. 383-394)
  24. Index
    (pp. 395-408)