Document Type : Research Paper
Associate Professor of Political Science, Faculty of Law & Political Science, University of Tehran, Iran
PhD in Political Science, Faculty of Law & Political Science, University of Tehran, Iran
Political conflict in the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) should be viewed as a complex and destructive type of social conflicts, which are one of the strategic obstacles to political development. Furthermore, these conflicts contribute to instability, reduce the threshold of tolerance of the political system, threaten national interests, and finally create systemic imbalance leading to the escalation of crises in the country. The research questions are as follows: 1. What are the effective mechanisms for resolving political conflicts? 2. How can the strategy of tolerance be effectively used to resolve political conflicts in order to develop and improve the capacity of the IRI’s political system? With the use of Sarantakos’s cyclical process of analysis and a qualitative approach, the authors try to find reasonable answers to these questions, and test a hypothesis in which it is postulated that the institutionalization of tolerance in Iranian society today can be effective in managing and resolving political conflicts, and consequently help the decision-makers to improve political capacity and efficiency of the IRI’s political system to confront social challenges.
The authors argue that tolerance and forbearance can be traced back to different historical periods from the Achaemenid rule onwards, and were often used in connection with religion. The constructive approach to tolerance helped the Achaemenian Empire to become one of the greatest empires in the world. In the contemporary era, the Iranian constitution adopted after the Constitutional Revolution as a key legal instrument—in addition to the attitude of the legislators towards the West and human rights issues— influenced moderation and tolerance towards religious minorities. In the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Constitution and the Charter of Citizen Rights, there are no direct reference to tolerance, but there are certainl concepts, , which are linked to tolerance. For instance, a number of articles specify the dynamic and extensive participation and involvement of all individuals in Iranian society in the process of development within the framework of national unity. The importance of tolerance in the political thoughts of the key leaders of the Islamic revolution are also examined. Since their viewpoints are based on Islam and religious theology, they largely advocate tolerance as long as it is not in conflict with the religious nature of Iran’s political system and national security. They have cautioned that this principle should not provide the basis for the intervention of the enemies and foreign domination. The most serious obstacles and challenges of institutionalizing the culture of tolerance in Iran as well as the role of universities, laws, political parties, civil society, seminaries, and elite are also discussed. The findings of the research have been presented in the form of a proposed model that confirms the positive and effective role of the policy of tolerance as one of the principles of good governance in resolving political conflicts and dealing with the existing vulnerabilities in Iran’s political system.