SOAS University of London

London Middle East Institute

An Historical Overview of the Iranian Presidency: 1979-2013

Siavush Ranjbar-Daemi, University of Manchester

Date: 11 March 2014Time: 5:45 PM

Finishes: 11 March 2014Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: Khalili Lecture Theatre

Type of Event: Lecture

(Re-scheduled from 3 December 2013)

Randjbar-Daemi will provide an overview of the genesis and evolution of the presidency in the Islamic Republic of Iran. He will explain the introduction of the presidential institution in the constitution-writing processes of 1978-79, its implementation in the crisis-ridden 1980s, and the revision of 1989 prior to engaging with the presidency in post-Khomeini Iran. The talk will develop a historical narrative of the period under consideration mainly from the perspective of the aforementioned presidents’ relationship with their surrounding political environment. It  will strive to explain their decision-making at critical junctures in their tenures as well as detail their ties with the rest of the Islamic Republic’s political elite, with a view to providing an analysis of where the presidency stands in the aftermath of the June 2013 elections.

The talk will in particular argue that the three decades under consideration have witnessed a continuous struggle, by successive presidents, for recognition of their constitutional authority and its augmentation, which was progressively considered by all presidents as a necessary step towards the fulfillment of their initial aspirations. The constant undermining of successive incumbents by other political actors are explained in order to highlight the unique nature of the presidency and other state institutions of contemporary post-revolutionary Iran, which falls short of being fully described by concepts and frameworks emerging from political theory relevant to classical Western definitions and notions regarding state institutions.

Siavush Randjbar-Daemi is Lecturer in the Contemporary Middle East and Iran at the University of Manchester. He completed an MA in Near and Middle Eastern Studies at SOAS in 2007 and obtained his PhD in History from Royal Holloway, University of London, in 2011. His research interests including the evolution of state institutions in modern Iran, and patterns of political culture and organisation. He is the author of the forthcoming Controlling Iran: The Struggle for Power in the Islamic Republic (London: IB Tauris) and is currently working on the initial stages of his second manuscript, which will focus on the interaction between political groups and society during the “Spring of Freedom”, the lively period between the collapse of the Shah’s rule in February - November 1979. His work on contemporary Iranian politics and history has been written and published in English, Italian and Persian.

Chair: Ziba Moshavar

Organiser: London Middle East Institute and the Centre for Iranian Studies

Contact email:

Contact Tel: 020 7898 4330 / 4490