Understanding Iran

by ; ;
  • ISBN13:


  • ISBN10:


  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-02-16
  • Publisher: RAND Corporation
  • Purchase Benefits
  • Free Shipping On Orders Over $35!
    Your order must be $35 or more to qualify for free economy shipping. Bulk sales, PO's, Marketplace items, eBooks and apparel do not qualify for this offer.
  • Get Rewarded for Ordering Your Textbooks! Enroll Now
List Price: $34.50 Save up to $5.17
  • Buy New


Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

  • The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.


Iran remains among the most poorly understood countries in the world and, for most Americans, terra incognita. A small community of American analysts in the government, academia, and the country's think tanks is, of course, working on Iran, but the overwhelming majority of them have never been to Iran or have visited only briefly. The consequences of this unfamiliarity have been distinctly negative for American policy, pushing most analyses toward a highly reductionist view. This monograph, the result of a workshop and the authors' own experience and analysis, is a concise, accessible handbook on the Islamic Republic for U.S. policymakers. As an aid to understanding current-day Iran, it synthesizes the existing analyses on the Islamic Republic and, most important, draws from non-American experts who can offer a different interpretive lens for viewing the seemingly opaque Iranian system. It offers a set of short analytic observations about the processes, institutions, networks, and actors that define Iran's politics, strategy, economic policy, and diplomacy. From these, it provides a guide for negotiating with Iran, about which the National Security Council's 2006 National Security Strategy warned, "We may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran." Book jacket.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. iii
Figures and Tablesp. vii
Summaryp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xvii
Abbreviationsp. xix
Introductionp. 1
Birth of the Projectp. 1
Backgroundp. 2
Contents of This Documentp. 3
Features of the Iranian Systemp. 5
Iran's Political Landscape: Individuals and Institutionsp. 6
The Supreme Leader: Influence and Worldviewp. 7
The National Security Establishment and the Rise of the Revolutionary Guardsp. 10
The Iranian Economy: Oil Dependency, Key Actors, and Policiesp. 15
Oil Export Dependency and Its Pathologiesp. 16
Economic Policies and Institutions: Complexity and Redundancyp. 21
Disarray and Dysfunction in Economic Policy Executionp. 23
The Elite's Political Culture: Factionalism and Informalityp. 25
Factional Dynamics at Work: The Nuclear Case Studyp. 28
Iran's Approach to Its Arab Neighbors: Implications for Iranian Behavior and U.S. Policyp. 33
Iran's Outreach to Arab Publicsp. 34
Iran and Anti-Shiismp. 36
Iran's Negotiating Stylep. 39
Conclusion: Iran Is Unlike Other Countries but Hardly Beyond Understandingp. 47
Workshop Agendap. 49
Workshop Papersp. 51
Decisionmaking for National Security: The Nuclear Casep. 52
Negotiating with Iran: A Case Studyp. 66
Iran's Defense Establishmentp. 71
Negotiating with Iranp. 79
Understanding Ayatollah Khamenei: The Leader's Thoughts on Israel, the U.S., and the Nuclear Programp. 87
The Politics of Factionalism in Iranp. 96
Economic Decisionmaking in Iranp. 105
Iran in the Arab Sphere: Debating Legitimacy, Sovereignty, and Regional Orderp. 113
Iran's Oil Sector: Questions, Puzzles, Explanationsp. 123
Biographies of Workshop Participantsp. 129
Referencesp. 141
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

Rewards Program

Write a Review