Summary of The Islamic Republic and the World

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The Islamic Republic and the World book summary
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  • Comprehensive
  • Well Structured
  • Background


Author Maryam Panah’s challenging book explains the history that shaped Iran’s pivotal Islamic Revolution in the context of dueling economic philosophies. The text began as her Ph.D. thesis at the London School of Economics, which may explain the challenging long sentences and the academic jargon. At times, this style makes the book dense and frustrating, since it covers such a compelling topic. However, readers will learn a great deal from the sections explaining each chapter’s major concepts. Panah knowingly recounts events primarily for scholars interested in the internal, theoretical structures and philosophies at work, however, she does not suggest ways for Iran to leave its isolationist status, temper its polemics and rejoin the world community. getAbstract recommends this book as an important, even if at times arduous, background text on Iran. Scholars of the revolution will find it illuminating, and those concerned about Iran’s role in global politics, from its status in the Middle East to its nuclear ambitions, also will be intrigued.

About the Author

After reading politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford University, Maryam Panah, a native Iranian, completed her doctoral thesis at the London School of Economics. She works in international development.



Challenging the World

To understand Iran’s Revolution, you need to know some of its history and how its social organization differs from Western cultures which are based on the capitalist model. The West determines social relationships based on economic, not political, considerations. This creates rapid, uneven social change. Iran’s theoretical basis is the Islamic “social organizational model,” born from its 1979 revolution. This anti-Western philosophy advocates basing governance and social structure on Islamic law dating back to the seventh century. It has been tempered – on and off, with varying impact – by societal and economic reform. Iran has tried to export this model with little success.

The 1940s and 1950s

Before World War II, Reza Shah, the dictatorial monarch of Persia (now Iran), played Russia and Great Britain against each other. During World War II, he initiated relations with Nazi Germany, provoking both powers to occupy his country, depose him in 1941 and replace him with his son, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. At the time, American and Russian interests challenged the hold of the British-owned Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) on Iran’s oil, ...

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