Iran Beliefs: How Regime Claims Legitimacy
globalarabnetwork / Raha Tahami

The Iranian government’s violent suppression of the opposition over the last nine months is not just based on a determination to avoid a possible fall of the regime but also has deep-seated ideological roots.

The Islamic Republic has inherited the idea that it is a minority, which in its interpretation from Shia opinion equates to being righteous. Being a minority and righteous gives the government the mandate to oppress the opposition and challenge internationally accepted norms, as far as it is concerned.

Over the past three decades, Iran has not had powerful international friends and allies, leaving it isolated.

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, said in his will, which is a compulsory subject in all Iranian universities, that it was the only government that had divine approval. “I advise this nation to continue this divine path and not become attached to the unbelieving East or the infidel West and show perseverance on this path,” he said.

The government takes pride in being in a minority, as is apparent from official media reports, seeing this as proof of its legitimacy - a justification connected with Shia beliefs.

Shia comprise ten per cent of the one billion Muslim population of the world and Iran is the only country in the world with an almost entirely Shia population. Shiism is the product of political strife over the leadership of the Muslim community after the death of the prophet of Islam... >>>

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