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Presidential Elections in Iran: Islamic Idealism since the Revolution, Mahmoud Pargoo and Shahram Akbarzadeh

Reviewed by Eric Lob

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The Islamic Republic of Iran has a complex political system with nonelected institutions under the purview of the supreme leader and elected ones under that of the president. While a power imbalance exists between the supreme leader and the president, the latter plays a critical role in shaping the Islamic Republic's domestic and foreign policies. Within this context, Mahmoud Pargoo and Shahram Akbarzadeh have produced and published an impressive book that systematically examines the campaign and communication strategies of successive presidential candidates from the 1979 Iranian Revolution until the 2017 presidential election.

Based on the results of their rigorous research, Pargoo and Akbarzadeh argue in Presidential Elections in Iran that since the death of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1989, the discourse of conservative and reformist presidential candidates has deviated from revolutionary and religious principles of Khomeinist Imam-ism, jihadist martyrdom, and ascetic egalitarianism—even if they have remained present, if not ubiquitous, in the rhetoric of Khomeini's successor and affiliated elites. The authors also assert that the discourse of conservative and reformist candidates has converged toward so-called secular and liberal values of welfare, peace, and prosperity. Lastly, the authors posit that while the Islamic Republic'

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