(TehranBureau) | February 20, 2010

This was first published by Tehran Bureau on July 6, 2009.

The momentous June presidential election in Iran and its bloody aftermath will probably be remembered as a turning point in the life of this strange republic. The true face of the state, so meticulously hidden beneath a confusing veneer of “Islamic democracy,” surfaced in its true form — something conveniently forgotten after eight years of reformist rule under Ahmadinejad’s predecessor, Khatami.

The aftermath of the June 12 election dealt a major blow to the hope for a realignment of Islam and a representative state. In lieu of any form of a hybrid Islamic Republic, a militarized regime has emerged in earnest — a regime that had been taking shape since Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made his mark in the 2005 elections. This regime is now embodied in a coalition of actors including Ahmadinejad, supreme leader Ali Khamenei, and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corp (IRGC).

The question is not whether this is some form of indigenous Islamic democracy, but instead: What is the role and influence of the clergy? In other words, is Iran still a clerical state, and if not, what is the nature of clerical power in this process, this metamorphosis to a militaristic state?

Read the full article in Tehran Bureau.