Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

The Iranian Constitutional Revolution and the Clerical Leadership of Khurasani

Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

The Iranian Constitutional Revolution and the Clerical Leadership of Khurasani

Article excerpt

The Iranian Constitutional Revolution and the Clerical Leadership of Khurasani. By Mateo Mohammad Farzaneh. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2015. 329 pp. $49.95.

For Iranians, the 1905-11 constitutional revolution was transformational. Liberals, constitutionalists, nationalists, reformers, tribesmen, and even some clergy worked together to force the shah to accept a constitution. They then defended it against the forces of counter-constitutional revolution led by the next shah with Russian backing.

While much has been previously written about the constitutional revolution since the account of Edward Granville Browne,1 Farzaneh, a professor at Northeastern Illinois University, sheds new light on the role of Mohammed Kazem Khurasani, perhaps the most prominent ayatollah of the early twentieth century. At a time when many Persian constitutionalists looked to Europe for a model, Ayatollah Khurasani used Shiite doctrine to provide the religious rationale for a constitution and parliament. Farzaneh provides the first major study of these arguments. …

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