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Is Iran an Islamic State : A Comparison between Shia Islamic Theory of State and Ayatollah Khomeini's Islamic Republic of Iran

by Andersson, Jonas

Abstract (Summary)

The Islamic Republic of Iran?s alleged pursuit of nuclear missile capabilities is proving in-creasingly problematic for the international community, which places the country in a sig-nificant position in world politics. In turn, the world?s attention towards the thirty-year-old Republic established by the late Ayatollah Khomeini has resurged. The Republic of Iran based on Ayatollah Khomeini?s interpretation of Islam has long stood in the spotlight of both public and scholastic scrutiny, particularly due to its perceivably radical manoeuvres on the international stage. However, as the focus of these scrutinizing views has been the Iranian unwillingness to subdue and conform to western norms, the issue of the „Islamicness? of the Republic has been overlooked.

Hence, this thesis seeks to draw further attention to this question - whether Iran can truly be regarded as an Islamic State - in order to ensure a deeper and more accurate under-standing of the Republic of Iran. The purpose of this paper is thus to investigate and re-flect on the theory of Islamic governance promoted by Ayatollah Khomeini and the politi-cal system of the Islamic Republic through the prism of Islamic history. The theory of the Islamic State and the Shia Islamic leadership has been and continues to be central in Aya-tollah Khomeini?s and the Islamic Republic?s official rhetoric, being claimed as the sole foundation of the „new? Iranian system. In consequence, this paper delves into the Islamic theory of State and the concept of the Imamate in order to critically analyze Ayatollah Khomeini?s theory and the Islamic Republic. This is aimed at yielding a conclusion whether Iran is justly labeled an Islamic State.

By performing this norm-fulfilling analysis of the subject in question reliant on a qualitative data collection, the thesis has found that the correlation between the two theories of Islam-ic governance is one of considerable disputability. The paper has, based on the investigated material, been able to conclude that the Islamic Republic of Iran holds a political structure lent from non-Islamic sources, but that its personnel and political field of contest can still be considered Islamic. What the paper has thus revealed is that Khomeini?s reasoning con-stitutes a novel and unique form of Islamic fundamentalism formed in conjuncture with political ideas of modern and non-Islamic nature. Hence, the results of the study suggests that the Islamic Republic of Iran is in need of serious reconsideration as the Iranian model of Islamic governance remains a source of contention because of the significant deviations from what it claims as its sole basis.

Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Högskolan i Jönköping

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:ayatollah khomeini guardianship of the jurist imamate islamic governance republic iran state political islam shia leadership velayat e faqih imamatet islamisk statsteori islamiska republiken isla miska staten politisk ledarskapet juristens väktarskap science statsvetenskap

ISBN:

Date of Publication:01/01/2009

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