Politics and Politicians in Iran: Fatima Smadi Writes

28 May, 2012

Published by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies in April 2012, Fatima Smadi's book Political Trends in Iran (392 pages) presents an exhaustive discussion of all of the political actors and parties that form part of post-revolutionary Iran, taking in their ideological and political fissures in all of their diversity.

Smadi discusses how Iranian political parties, both Left and Right, have changed along with developments within Iranian society. By focusing readers' attention on the Marxist (specifically, the Tudeh Party), Left-Islamist (the Mujahideen Khalq), and the Imamate political bloc (those supporting the Imam Khomeini), Smadi provides the readers with an analysis of the rhetoric within the Islamic Revolution of Iran, in its many-faceted political diversity. Smadi pays particular attention to the "Conservative" and "Reformist" trends within the Iranian revolutionary movement, and presents their varying opinions on questions of the "Rule of Jurisprudents" (the Vilayet-e-Faqih), their attitudes to the United States, and their stances on questions of economics. Further to this, she takes in a number of less prominent political parties and blocs that have impacted events at various stages of Iran's history, including the Islamic Republic Party and the Association of Combatant Clerics, before moving on to discuss the "Discourse of Renewal," within the Islamic Iran Participation Front, the Executives of Construction Party, and the Greens, giving priority to the question of democracy and how it is felt among these groups.

In the Epilogue, Smadi examines President Ahmadinejad's discourse in relation to women and democracy, as well as relations with the United States, posing the question: does Ahmadinejad qualify as a puritanical conservative? Despite his adoption of the eschatological Mahdist ideology, Smadi argues, Ahmadinejad does not count as a puritanical conservative; rather, she claims that Ahmadinejad is, in fact, responsible for the formation of a new political bloc, one which could be called the "Justice Bloc" and which stands mid-way between Reformists and Conservatives. She contends that this new political bloc does not assign any real significance to the idea of democracy, and, instead, prefers the formation of a religious theocracy as a counter-weight to the Western model of a state.


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