Arjomand (1992:39–40) defines constitutional politics as “a struggle for the definition of order.” Such a struggle has been taking place in Iran for over a century. “In the process of constitutional politics,” the contending groups come to reconcile “through compromise, concession and reinterpretation.” In Iran, however, it has not quite happened this way all along. What would add to this equation is the role of absolute power, the ability to get one’s way against the will of others without compromise and concession. In the context of Iranian politics and during various periods, possession of absolute power has been a deterrent to “compromise, concession, and reinterpretation.”


Gender Equality Absolute Power Political Cartel Parliamentary Democracy Islamic State 
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  1. 1.
    The unusual social conditions facing Mossadegh are beyond the scope of this book. For an informative account of how, had it not been for the joint American/British 1953 interventions, Mossadegh would have indeed saved the Shah, Iran, Iranian culture, and generations of Iranians, see Christoher de Bellaigue’s Patriot of Persia: Muhammad Mossadegh and a Tragic Anglo-American Coup, Harper Publishers, 2013. The seeds of current challenges facing American and European powers go back to this joint CIA/British intervention, which in the long run was to their detriment as well. Without the 1953 coup, there would have been no Islamic Revolution in Iran and without this revolution there would have been no militant Islam and no Bin Laden. Interested readers may also look at Stephen Kinzer’s All The Shah’s Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror.Google Scholar
  2. 6.
    Said A. Arjomand, “The Ulama’s Traditionalist Opposition to Parliamentarianism: 1907–1909,” Middle Eastern Studies, 17.2 (1981): 175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 10.
    Lewis Coser, 1974, Greedy Institutions: Patterns of Undivided Commitment. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar

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© Farshad Malek-Ahmadi 2015

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