30 September 2010

This book seeks to clarify the historical, political and social framework for the crisis following Iran's 2009 presidential election.


Ali Ansari


Iran's tenth presidential election in 2009 has proved to be the most controversial and contentious in the 30-year history of the Islamic Republic. The popular anger which erupted in the aftermath of the election posed the most serious internal challenge to the stability of the Islamic Republic since its foundation. Although the street demonstrations have since subsided, the consequences of the election are likely to be felt for some time.

Ali Ansari argues that the crisis was not principally about electoral fraud, but rather that it was part of a far deeper malaise in the structure and ideology of the Islamic Republic. The 2009 election needs to be seen as part of a far longer political struggle. The size of the opposition reflected the fact that this crisis extended to the future of Iran itself.

This book seeks to clarify the historical, political and social framework for the crisis. It also argues that a durable solution to the problem of Iran's international relations requires a better understanding of Iran and a settlement that provides for a stable future for the Iranian state.


'Ali Ansari is rightly acclaimed as one of the most astute observers of modern Iranian society and politics. His combination of historical erudition and political savvy about the labyrinthine structure of power in Iran make his observations on the June 2009 contested election a must-read for anyone interested in the fate of that beleaguered nation and that pivotal event.'
Professor Abbas Milani, Hamid and Christina Moghadam Director of Iranian Studies, Stanford University

'With a precise analytical scalpel, Ali Ansari cuts through the offi cial myths of Iran's controversial 2009 presidential election. This indispensable guide gets to the heart of the most serious political crisis faced by the Islamic Republic, and puts the vote and its violent aftermath into critical historical context. Revolutionary Iran will never be the same, and Ansari - for many years among the most sophisticated observers of Iranian politics - tells us why.'
Scott Peterson, author of Let the Swords Encircle Me: Iran - A Journey Behind the Headlines (2010)


1. Introduction
Sources and methodology

2. The 2009 Presidential Election: The Background
A brief history of the Islamic Republic

3. The 2009 Presidential Election Campaign
Countdown to victory
The primaries
Raising the stakes
A tale of two cities: Iran's opposing world-views
Towards election day

4. Groundhog Day: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous

5. Fallout
Crisis of authority
The crisis escalates
The incoherence of dominance
'A global conspiracy'
A conservative crisis

6. Longer-term Consequences and Policy Implications
Domestic questions
Iran and the West

7. Conclusion
An inconvinient truth?

About the Author

Ali M Ansari is Professor of Iranian History and Director of the Institute of Iranian Studies at the University of St Andrews, and an Associate Fellow of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Chatham House.

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