Iran and the Rise of Its Neoconservatives
By Anoushiravan Ehteshami and Mahjoob Zweir
Review by Joshua V (PPE)
At the beginning of year 12, having just begun my AS-levels and with thoughts about what to do next after 6th form increasingly occupying my mind, I happened to stumble across this book in my local library. Perhaps because I was drawn to the controversial nature of its subject, or simply because it was on a stand in front of me, I decided it would be worth a look.
Either way, the book ended up helping to persuade me that I wanted to read more on Politics and expanded my interest in current affairs. In many ways it therefore prompted me further towards my eventual decision to apply for PPE.
If you have an interest in current affairs or are just looking for something contemporary, a bit off the beaten track, then Ehteshami and Zweiri offer a great read. The book gives an exciting glimpse into one of the world’s most controversial political entities – its fractious relationship with the outside world and the internal divisions and controversies of power within, particularly with the historically overbearing influence of the military in politics. In essence, the book gives a brief history of Iranian politics from the Iran-Iraq war up to 2005; it outlines the country’s progression from Conservative to Reformist to Neo-Conservative government and the factors at play in bringing about these changes. In doing so it sets a backdrop for the country’s current movement towards a more moderate position and lays a solid foundation for further study of Politics in the Middle East and international relations, which are both second year options at Oxford.
Ehteshami and Zweiri’s study offers an interesting gateway into many of the most important issues of politics, such as the limits of state power and the extent of democracy. Issues such as liberty within the country also provide fascinating real world applications of ideas discussed by such philosophers as Mill. Indeed, its description of problems emanating from Iran’s system of constitutional theocracy is relevant to wider questions on the most effective form of government.
Perhaps most importantly, the text is an accessible and fun read and for these reasons I would highly recommend it.
Iran and the Rise of its Neoconservatives: The Politics of Tehran’s Silent Revolution by Anoushiravan Ehteshami and Mahjoob Zweir