The Rise and Impact of Iran's Neocons
Anoush Ehteshami
Iran is a country in which factional politics continue to reign. Its complex elite structure is divided between three distinct political camps: conservative, reformist, and neoconservative. However, these groupings are not just elite-based: Ahmadinejad’s victory in 2005 demonstrated that Iran remains a deeply polarized society some quarter of a century after the victory of the revolution, with a significant part of the civilian populace supporting the slogans of the neoconservatives regarding the redistribution of wealth, elimination of poverty, rooting out of corruption, and protecting the Islamic nature of the state.

This brief examines the practical realities of the rise of Iranian “neocons” under President Ahmadinejad; the domestic and foreign effects of this rise; and future likely social, economic, and foreign policy trends. The brief concludes with a strong argument for balanced, long-term US engagement of Iran on its enduring geopolitical interests, the latter of which are shared between factions.

This page is part of Rising Powers: The New Global Reality, a project from the Stanley Foundation.