IRANIAN POLITICS IS POLARIZED BETWEEN REFORMERS AND HARDLINERS
IRANIAN POLITICS IS POLARIZED BETWEEN KHATAMI REFORMERS AND CONSERVATIVE HARD-LINERS
Janet Matthews Information Services, World of Information Country Report November 2, 1999 SECTION: Comment & Analysis; Country Profile; Forecast; Pg. 12 HEADLINE: IRAN: POLITICS // ln-acs 12/18/99
Although there are no formal parties in Iran, the political situation is split between the conservative Combatant Clergy Society and the reformist Servants of Construction. President Rafsanjani, who stepped down as head of government in August 1997 having been in power since 1989, was closely allied to the Servants of Construction. His legacy was to refocus Iran's economic and political outlook more on its national and economic interests rather than on exporting its revolutionary philosophy.
His successor, President Mohammed Khatami, who swept to a landslide victory in the 1997 presidential election, is also supported by the Servants of Construction. This, combined with his reputation as a liberal, heightened expectations of further liberalisation of Iran's social and economic regulations. Khatami has made specific reference to the need to create a 'civil society' in which Islamic restraints on individual freedom are relaxed. He has overseen some important investments in Iran and improved relations with Europe. However, these reforms challenge the authority of conservative forces, who continue to dominate the legislature. These hardliners present a threat to his power as he presses forward with liberalisation. There has been an increasing polarisation between moderate and conservative forces towards economic and social reform since Khatami came to power.
IRANIAN POLITICS ARE INCREASINGLY POLARIZED AS REFORMS ARE ATTEMPTED
Janet Matthews Information Services, World of Information Country Report November 2, 1999 SECTION: Comment & Analysis; Country Profile; Statistics; Forecast; Pg. 8 HEADLINE: IRAN: INTRODUCTION // ln-acs 12/18/99
Alexis de Toqueville, the French philosopher reportedly read by President Khatami, once noted that the most perilous time for any regime is when it attempts to reform itself; a comment that may prove insightful for contemporary Iran. Despite broad agreement that the economy has stagnated, the core dilemma is how best to maintain adherence to Islamic values while restoring Iran's position as a central player in the global economy. Thus Iranian politics, after years of ossification, are increasingly polarised between moderate and conservative attitudes toward economic and, by implication, social reform.