Graduation Term


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Politics and Government: Political Science

Committee Chair

Ali Riaz


Since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, Iran has been seen as the primary bastion of radical Shi‘a Islam and a force which fosters the Middle East instability. The Iranian regime has often been labeled as a theocracy, which often overshadowed the attention to nuances about its polity and its mechanisms of survival. The main purpose of this thesis is to shed light on the political system of Iran and its survival mechanism while situating it in the hybrid regime category. Hybrid regime framework is especially useful since it allows us to better understand the resilience of the hybrid political structure as a distinct form of governance from both democratic and authoritarian regimes. Viewing Iran as a hybrid form of polity, I aim to provide a better understanding of its sustainability. Yet, it is important to note my approach to the study the Iranian political system and its resilience does not follow hybrid regimes institutional approaches in which institutional processes like elections or other state organs are commonly considered. I will instead look more closely at the formation and transformation of the religious reformist discourse as it has influenced the Iranian political system. The articulation of the religious reformist discourse and its politicization during the reform era played an important role in securing the Iranian political system. This mainly results from the theoretical philosophy of the reformist discourse, which considers reformism as the only modus operandi to modify the political system. By analyzing the religious reformist discourse, I hope to contribute to the study of hybrid regime as well as the discussion of regime resilience in Iran.


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