Answering Only to God: Faith and Freedom in 21st-Century Iran

[from the back cover...]

“Taking the reader inside Iran’s key institutions, Geneive Abdo and Jonathan Lyons argue that the 1979 Iranian Revolution, long viewed in the West as the pursuit of an imagined medieval Utopia, was in fact a political movement designed to modernize Islam. Twenty years later, a power struggle between conservatives and reform elements provoked a clash that has destabilized the country and limited Iran’s ability to integrate with the world community.

Answering Only to God challenges the prevailing Western belief that the Islamic world is an undifferentiated mass of disaffected and dangerous fanatics or that a Western-style democracy will soon transform this ancient land of Shi’ite and Sufi tradition. Instead, the authors explore the controversial view that beyond the quarrel with the West, stemming from decades of exploitative foreign policies, the real struggle is between reformist and conservative mullahs.”