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Democracy in Iran: Why It Failed and How It Might Succeed

Author: Misagh Parsa

Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 2016, pp. 406

An analysis of the theocratic regime installed in 1979 and the problems facing the country, including corruption and cronyism, deep economic inequality and a brain drain of professionals. The author discusses the potential of the Green Revolution and its suppression, considers whether there is any scope to reform the regime from within, and concludes that the best hope is another revolution.

See also: Boroumand, Ladan, 'Iran's Exclusionary Republic', Journal of Democracy, vol. 29 no. 2. (April 2018), pp. 406.

This review of the 2016 book Democracy in Iran (see below) begins by commenting on the mass demonstrations that broke out in late December 2017 across 72 cities, calling for regime change, and how they were suppressed (48 killed and 4,792 arrests). Boroumand asks how 'recurrent explosions of popular anger in the Islamic Republic can be explained, and how the most recent protests related to the strong majority vote for the moderate President Rouhani six months earlier. She then turns to the book as a helpful analysis of developments since 1979, when Ayatollah Khomeini came to power.