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Wednesday, 20th December 2006

Fundamentalists, Pragmatists and the Rights of the Nation: Iranian Politics and Nuclear Confrontation

Fundamentalists, Pragmatists and the Rights of the Nation: Iranian Politics and Nuclear Confrontation (PDF; 365 KB)
Source: Century Foundation
From press release:

Current debate on the Iranian nuclear issue tends to overlook the vital role of Iran’s domestic politics, according to Gareth Smyth, Tehran bureau chief for the Financial Times, in a revealing report published this week by The Century Foundation. In Fundamentalists, Pragmatists, and the Rights of the Nation: Iranian Politics and Nuclear Confrontation, Smyth argues, “A general level of support within Iran for the nation’s ‘right’ to a nuclear program sits alongside a healthy level of skepticism about Iran’s rulers.”

A military attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities would, he says, rally all the country’s political factions behind those rulers, Smyth points out. “If there were to be confrontation with the United States, the leadership would prefer that the conflict turn on the nuclear issue, ‘where they have public support,’ than on issues such as ‘human rights or democracy, where they don’t.’”

Iran’s position on nuclear enrichment cannot be understood without first grasping the fluid and often opposing factions within the Iranian political system, Smyth says. In his taxonomy of domestic political factions in Iran—fundamentalists, traditionalists, reformists, reformist pragmatists, conservative pragmatists, the Leader, and the Leader’s loyalists—few see the acquisition of nuclear weapons as a top priority.

+ Collection of Iran white papers


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