Guardians of the revolution – Ray Takeyh- 2009

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P 2 – Iran’s international orientation has historically been shaped by a presumption of greatness, an undiminished sense of superiority over its neighbors , and an acute concern about foreigner’s intention.

P 5 – Once the international community chose to deal with  Iran’s nuclear infractions through sanctions and pressure, it further empowered the conservatives, who thrived on confrontation. An exhausted  reform movement, besieged by its domestic detractors and amrican animus, would cede to a hard-line government.

P223  1990’s are often seen as a decade of economic reconstruction and political reform. The clerical reformers were seeking to reconcile democracy and religion, while the younger generation was moving away from a political culture that celebrated martyrdom and spiritual devotion. However, beneath the surface of innovation and reform, there evolved a war of generation – pious young men who had served on the front lines of the iran-iraq conflict. These …maintained their commitment to Khomeini’s original mission. From this segment of society emerged some of Iran more important leaders Ahmadinejad, Said Jalili, Nutjaba Hashemi.

P224 The function of the government was …to provide social services and ensure society’ economic viability. A vision of practical authoritarianism began contesting  the reform movement’s call for pluralism and the rule of law. ..The mood of the country seemed to be shifting from political reform to economic development.

P229 Once Khatami was seen on the TV casting his ballot in the transparently rigged elections, his once-powerful claim on the imagination of Iran’s youth and the modern middle class largely evaporated.

P235 Ahmadinejad highlighted his modest home and the fact that he had driven the same old car for twenty years….In a country where high office was seen as a prelude to self enrichment, he stood as a modest man devoted to the nation.

P 236 The trajectory of Iran’s politics also confounded the West’s anticipation of a forward historical progression.

P249 A conservative newspaper has conceded that “atomic energy has become the glue that has reinforced the solidarity of the Nation. The problem with this approach is that, once the nationalistic narrative is created, it will be difficult for the government to offer any concessions without provoking popular backlash….the government will find that meekly suspending the (nuclear) program will challenge the legitimacy of the state. Iran deliberate strategy of marrying Iran’s national identity to the cause of nuclear aggrandizement makes the task of diplomacy even more daunting.

P260 By choice and chance Iran has now emerged as a leading power of the middle east, whereby its preferences and predilections have to be taken into consideration as the region contemplates its future.

P262 In any realistic conception of its containment strategy, the US will be relying on weaker regional actors to contain a rising one – the largest country in size and population, a socially and culturally dynamic one. …The US will have to maintain a large number of troops indefinitely.

The last time the US rallied the Arab world to contain Iran in the 80s, Americans ended up creating a political culture that facilitated the rise of Sunni militancy. It is this milieu that produced Taliban and Al Qaeda. (current) containment will mobilise Sunni extremism as the ideological barrier to Shiite Iran