Since Iran’s 1979 revolution, scholars and policymakers alike have tended to view Iranian political actors as religiously driven, dedicated to overturning the international order in accordance with a theologically prescribed outlook. In his latest book, “Religious Statecraft: The Politics of Islam in Iran,” Fellow for the Middle East Mohammad Ayatollahi Tabaar argues that such views have the link between religious ideology and political order in Iran backward. Through analysis of postrevolutionary Iranian media, recently declassified documents, theological journals and political memoirs, he explores half a century of shifting Islamist doctrines against the backdrop of Iran's factional and international politics, demonstrating that religious narratives in Iran are highly influenced by politics and can change rapidly, frequently and dramatically according to elites' threat perceptions.
At this event, Tabaar presented the key findings from his book, which constructs a new picture of Iranian politics in which power drives Islamist ideology.
A book signing followed the presentation. Copies of "Religious Statecraft: The Politics of Islam in Iran” were available for advance purchase courtesy of the publisher.
Mohammad Ayatollahi Tabaar, Ph.D., is a fellow for the Middle East at the Baker Institute. His research focuses on U.S.-Iran relations and the politics of religion. Tabaar is an associate professor in international affairs at Texas A&M University's Bush School of Government and Public Service. He is also a nonresident scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C. He has previously taught undergraduate and graduate courses at Georgetown University and George Washington University. He has also been a visiting scholar at George Washington, Cambridge, Harvard and Columbia Universities. Tabaar received his Ph.D. in comparative politics and international relations from Georgetown University, an M.A. in international relations from the University of Chicago, an M.A. in sociology from the New School for Social Research in New York City, and a B.A. in social sciences from the University of Tehran.