Authoritarian Survival: Iran’s Republic of Repression

Issue Date July 2020
Volume 31
Issue 3
Page Numbers 54-68
file Print
arrow-down-thin Download from Project MUSE
external View Citation

Read the full essay here.

Although democracy spread throughout the world during the latter part of the twentieth century, a number of countries remain highly authoritarian. To understand authoritarianism’s survival, analysts must examine the nature of these regimes, the social movements that rise to challenge them, and the likelihood that transformation will be revolutionary. This article argues that the persistence of the Iran’s theocracy stems from a confluence of factors: repression of all independent political organizations; the instigation of external conflicts to provoke internal cohesion; shifting ideological claims and outright deception; and the absence of an alternative, unifying revolutionary contender or coalition, not to mention the ideological and political splits that divide the opposition.

About the Author

Misagh Parsa is professor of sociology at Dartmouth College. His latest book is Democracy in Iran: Why It Failed and How It Might Succeed (2016).

View all work by Misagh Parsa