The problem with this book is that it does not deliver what the title promises. In a study of any country’s political elite one expects biographic data and discussions of geographic origins, educational achievements, socio-cultural characteristics, and career patterns of a set of individuals identified as constituting a country’s political elite, followed by analyses of how certain members of society are recruited into the elite and socialized into its modus operandi. Very little of that can be found in this book – elite recruitment, for instance, is addressed in less than a page. Instead, we have a narrative of how domestic and foreign policy in Iran have evolved over three decades, analyzed through the prism of factional rivalries.
All political systems use the public education system to propagate the basic values and principles on which they are based, and when the political leadership of a state is self-consciously committed to an ideology in the name of which it wants to revolutionize society, the propagation of these basic values become particularly heavy-handed. Such is the case of the Islamic Republic of Iran, a state born of the revolution of 1978- 79.