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This research proposes an alternate view of Iran, one which lays the foundation for new strategies with regard to the country, by emphasizing an undervalued component of tremendous power: the civil will of the Iranian people. This research examines the possibility that Iranian society is different than the common western conception of it, and is characterized not only by strong Islamic influence, but also by a deeply rooted civilian culture derived from the great Persian Empire. This paper posits that there is a different Iran not portrayed in the media, one which is characterized by cultural richness, political pluralism, a developed middle class and a creative and active young generation, with unfulfilled dreams of independence, equality and liberty. Hence, this research examines the provocative thesis that the greatest potential for liberal democracy in the Middle East does not lie in the seemingly moderate Arab Sunni countries, rather the greatest potential for hope in today's Middle Eastern region is found in the Ayatollah-run Islamic Republic of Iran. This paper explores the possibility of the emergence of liberal democracy in Iran, as opposed to various versions of formal democracy prevalent in other Middle Eastern countries. Consequently, this research explores the possibility of a different scenario than what is commonly suggested, one in which the West's great hope for a tide towards democracy rests with the Shia and non-Arab Islamic Republic of Iran becoming the Middle Eastern and Islamic model of liberal democracy, while the Arab nations in the Middle East sway in the direction of rising radical Sunni power. The latter is already happening, reflected in the rising power of the Muslim Brotherhood and proxies of Al-Qaeda in many Arab countries. This research suggests that the first part of the scenario is more likely than popularly considered, as a nucleus of liberal societal values among the Iranian population can be developed into a thriving model of intrinsic liberal democracy, causing the symbol of Islamic extremism to instead become a model of Islamic liberty. Nonetheless, this research does not presume to predict the future. From the days of Ecclesiastes )‫ (קהלת‬until today, experts have consistently succeeded only in predicting the past, and despite enormous resources invested, countries, armies, and Intelligence Agencies have too often failed to foretell even the most significant historical events, such as the fall of the Communist block or the "Arab Spring" events. Due to the extreme complexity of historical processes, it is impossible to successfully identify causal relationships of a one-to-one function which serve as rational explanations for these events, and this is true in particular regarding "black swan" events – unexpected events perceived as low in probability, but of large magnitude. This research was conducted out of the understanding that there are no absolute answers and that not all variables can be explored. Consequently, in face of innumerable influencing factors, 4

Could Iran Turn Into a Liberal Democracy? Full report  

This research proposes new lenses from which to view the Islamic Republic of Iran, different than the common picture portrayed in the Wester...

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