Haleh Esfandiari: “Reform or Revolution? Iran’s Path to Democracy”

“Iran has often seemed to be on the brink of democracy. During the twentieth century, the country experienced three major political upheavals: … [They] all constituted a reaction to corruption, misrule, and autocracy. They all reflected the spread of literacy, the rising expectations of a growing middle class, and the impatience of a wealthy business community with official mismanagement. They were all characterized by an aspiration for some form of democratic government. Yet each time, that aspiration was disappointed. … In Democracy in Iran, Misagh Parsa examines why the forces of repression have always gained the upper hand over Iran’s democratic impulses and how democracy might eventually emerge in Iran. “