Prospects for a Democratic State
This chapter focuses on Iran's prospects for a democratic state. It is argued that the context for the democracy debate in Iran and the drive for democracy's realization have been strengthened by demographic changes; decentralization of authority in the form of increased importance of municipal and provincial constituencies; and the decade-long experience with civil society activism, voting, and mobilization of the population during electoral campaigns. However, Iranian politics has not as yet removed the main obstacles to democratization and state-building and the quest for social and individual freedoms have not converged in a linear process of political change. In the absence of a framework that would bind democracy to state-building, the goals of the latter have impeded the development of the former. The struggle between the two will shape state and society and will determine the pace and direction of Iran's progress toward the goal of a democratic state.
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