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Iran Country Essay

The Islamic Republic of Iran is a constitutional, theocratic republic in which Shia Muslim clergy and political leaders vetted by the clergy dominate the key power structures. Government legitimacy is based on the twin pillars of popular sovereignty–albeit restricted–and the rule of the supreme leader of the Islamic Revolution. The current supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was chosen by a directly elected body of religious leaders, the Assembly of Experts, in 1989.

Khamenei’s writ dominates the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government. He directly controls the armed forces and indirectly controls internal security forces, the judiciary, and other key institutions. The legislative branch is the popularly elected 290seat Islamic Consultative Assembly, or Majlis. The unelected 12member Guardian Council reviews all legislation the Majlis passes to ensure adherence to Islamic and constitutional principles; it also screens presidential and Majliscandidates for eligibility.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was reelected president in June 2009 in a multiparty election that was generally Considered neither free nor fair. There were numerous instances in which elements of the security forces acted independently of civilian control Demonstrations by opposition groups, university students, and others increased during the first few months of the year, inspired in part by events of the Arab Spring. In February hundreds of protesters throughout the country staged rallies to show solidarity with protesters in Tunisia and Egypt.

The government responded harshly to protesters and critics, arresting, torturing, and prosecuting them for their dissent. As part of its crackdown, the government increased its oppression of media and the arts, arresting and imprisoning dozens of journalists, bloggers, poets, actors, filmmakers, and artists throughout the year. The government’s suppression and intimidation of voices of opposition continued at a rapid pace at years end .

The most egregious human rights problems were the governments severe limit actions on citizens ‘right to peacefully change their government through free and fair elections, restrictions on civil liberties, and disregard for the sanctity of life through the government’s use of arbitrary detention, torture, and deprivation of life without due process. The government severely restricted freedoms of speech and the press(including via the Internet), assembly, association, movement, and religion.

The government committed extrajudicial killings and executed persons for criminal convictions as juveniles, on minor offenses, and after unfair trials, sometimes in public or group executions. Security forces under the government’s control committed acts of politically motivated violence and repression, including torture, beatings, and rape. The government administered severe officially sanctioned punishments, including amputation and flogging. Security forces arbitrarily arrested and detained individuals, often holding them incommunicado .

Other human rights abuses included acts of violence by vigilante groups with ties to the government, such as the Basij militia. Prison conditions remained poor, and several prisoners died during the year as a result . There were few examples of judicial independence or fair public trials. Authorities held numerous political prisoners and continued to crack down on women’s rights activists, ethnic minority rights activists, student activists, religious minorities, and environmental activists.

The government severely restricted the right to privacy. Authorities denied admission to or expelled hundreds of university students whose views were deemed unacceptable by the regime; professors faced expulsion on similar grounds. Official corruption and a lack of government transparency persisted. Violence and legal and societal discrimination against women, children, ethnic and religious minorities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons were extant. Incitement to anti-Semitism and trafficking in persons remained problems.

The government severely restricted workers ‘rights and arrested numerous union leaders as the number of protests increased during the year. Child labor remained a serious problem. (1) History and Background Location: The country of Iran is in the Asia continent and the latitude and longitude for the country are 33. 6804° N, 51. 1689°E. Capital: Tehran Climate: Iran has a variable climate. In the northwest, winters are cold with heavy snowfall and subfreezing temperatures during December and January. Spring and fall are relatively mild, while summers are dry and hot.

In the south, winters are mild and the summers are very hot, having average daily temperatures in July exceeding 38° C. On the Khuzestan plain, summer heat is accompanied by high humidity. Background: Recent archaeological studies indicate that as early as 10,000 BC, people lived on the southern shores of the Caspian, one of the few regions of the world which according to scientists escaped the Ice Age. They were probably the first men in the history of mankind to engage in agriculture and animal husbandry.

Though the history of Iran is long and complex, its shape is determined by the rise and fall of successive dynasties – with intervals of chaos and confusion. The Persian Empire, the Medes, the Assyrian Kingdom, the Macedonians, the Huns, the Sassanians, the Arabs, the Seljuks and Mongols, the Timurids and the Safavids, all held sway here at one time or another. In the 6th century BC Cyrus the Great founded the Persian Empire, which was destroyed in 330 BC by Alexander the Great. In succeeding centuries, Persia was invaded by the Parthians, the Arabs, the Mongols and various Turkish dynasties.

After the Arab conquest in the middle of the 7th century, the ancient Persian religion of Zoroastrianism gave way to Islam. Persia continued to be overrun by foreign powers for another thousand years. The Seljuk Turks arrived in the 11th century, followed by the Mongols under Genghis Khan and his grandson Hulagu Khan in the 13th century and Tamerlane (Timur) in the 14th century. Another Turkish dynasty, the Safavids, took control in the 16th century, only to be ousted by yet another Turkish tribe, the Qajar, in the 18th century.

The Safavids belonged to a Sufi religious order and made Shiite Islam the official religion of Iran, undertaking a major conversion campaign of Iranian Muslims. The Safavid dynasty reached its height during the reign of Shah Abbas 1st (1587-I629). It was during his reign that Persia once again came to be known in Europe as a superpower, because it was the greatest opponent of the Ottomans, and their wars saved Europe, the Ottomans being too occupied on the east fighting Iran to make headway in the west.

In 18th-19th centuries Iran fall under the increasing pressure of European nations, particularly the Russian Empire and the Great Britain. The discovery of oil in early 1900s intensified the rivalry of the Great Britain and Russia for power over the nation. After the World War 1st Iran was admitted to the League of Nations as an original member. In 1921 Reza Khan, an army officer, established a military dictatorship. He was subsequently elected hereditary Shah, thus ending the Qajar dynasty and founding the new Pahlavi dynasty.

In 1963 Iran’s most important religious nation-wide uprising led by Ayatollah Khomeini, took place in protest to the so-called White Revolution. After the victory of the Islamic Revolution of 1979 the shah was overthrown and Iran, officially renamed the Islamic Republic of Iran, became a theocratic state. The Constitution of 1979 designated Ayatollah Khomeini as the pious jurist or faqih (the policy guide and ultimate decision-maker). April 1, 1979 became the Islamic Republic Day.


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