On the fortieth anniversary of the 1978 "79 Iranian revolution, a
definitive political picture of the Islamic Republic When Iranians
overthrew their monarchy, rejecting a pro-Western shah in favor of
an Islamic regime, many observers predicted that revolutionary
turmoil would paralyze the country for decades to come. Yet forty
years after the 1978 "79 revolution, Iran has emerged as a critical
player in the Middle East and the wider world, as demonstrated in
part by the 2015 international nuclear agreement. In Iran Rising,
renowned Iran specialist Amin Saikal describes how the country has
managed to survive despite ongoing domestic struggles, Western
sanctions, and countless other serious challenges. Saikal explores
Iran (TM)s recent history, beginning with the revolution, which set
in motion a number of developments, including war with Iraq,
precarious relations with Arab neighbors, and hostilities with
Israel and the United States. He highlights the regime (TM)s
agility as it navigated a complex relationship with Afghanistan
during the Soviet invasion, survived the Gulf wars, and handled
fallout from the Iraqi and Syrian crises. Such success, Saikal
maintains, stems from a distinctive political order, comprising
both a supreme Islamic leader and an elected president and national
assembly, which can fuse religious and nationalist assertiveness
with pragmatic policy actions at home and abroad. But Iran (TM)s
accomplishments, including its nuclear development and ability to
fight ISIS, have cost its people, who are desperately pressuring
the ruling clerics for economic and social reforms "changes that
might in turn influence the country (TM)s foreign policy. Amid
heightened global anxiety over alliances, terrorism, and nuclear
threats, Iran Rising offers essential reading for understanding a
country that, more than ever, is a force to watch.
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