Almost four decades after the Islamic Revolution in Iran fundamental challenges are confronting the religious establishment in the country. Economic hardship and endemic corruption together with the state’s inability to provide a clear agenda for the future have turned the majority younger generation in a country of over 80 million into protestors demanding change. In the realm of foreign policy pressure is also mounting on the Islamic Republic. There is now concerted effort in the West to change Tehran’s regional behavior particularly in Syria. Its missile program is also a point of contention in international policy circles. How can the Islamic Republic deal with these internal and external threats? Can the religious framework provide a more promising future for its disillusioned people? How, if at all, can it justify a meaningful change in foreign policy without seriously compromising its ideological strongholds? Can any policy change, domestic or foreign, be put into effect through the present jurisprudential system? What possible changes could be on the horizon and how they may come about?
SM Farid Mirbagheri is a Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Middle Eastern Studies, Elliot School of International Affairs at George Washington University. He is a Professor of International Relations and holds the Dialogue Chair in Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Nicosia, Cyprus. His BA and PhD (International Relations) were received from Keele University, England.