Skip to Content
Manchester Metropolitan University Library
Mullahs, guards, and bonyads: an exploration of Iranian leadership dynamics

Mullahs, guards, and bonyads: an exploration of Iranian leadership dynamics

Thaler, David E

The Islamic Republic of Iran poses serious challenges to U.S. interests in the Middle East, and its nuclear program continues to worry, and bring condemnation and sanction from, the international community. Yet the U.S. ability to "read" the regime in Tehran and formulate appropriate policies has been handicapped by the lack of access to Iran experienced by U.S. diplomats and other citizens and by what many observers lament as the opacity of Iranian decisionmaking processes. The objective of this book is to offer a framework to help U.S. policymakers and analysts better understand existing and evolving leadership dynamics driving Iranian decisionmaking. The research herein provides not only a basic primer on the structure, institutions, and personalities of the government and other influential power centers but also a better understanding of Iranian elite behavior as a driver of Iranian policy formulation and execution. The book pays special attention to emerging fissures within the regime, competing centers of power, and the primacy of informal networks-- a particularly important yet not well understood hallmark of the Iranian system

eBook, Paperback, Electronic resource, Book. English. Electronic books.
Published Santa Monica, CA : RAND, National Defense Research Institute 2010

This resource is available electronically from the following locations


Statement of responsibility: David E. Thaler [and others]
ISBN: 0833049305, 9780833047731, 9780833049308
Note: Includes bibliographical references (pages 127-144).
Note: Print version record.
Note: "Prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, approved for public release, distribution unlimited."
Physical Description: 1 online resource (xxiii, 144 pages) : illustrations.
Series: RAND Corporation monograph series
Subject: Politics and government; Iran Foreign relations.; Iran Politics and government.; Political culture Iran.; Civil-military relations Iran.; Civil-military relations.; Political leadership.; Iran internal politics.; POLITICAL SCIENCE Security (National & International); Iran.; Iran government.; Islam and politics.; Iran Military policy.; United States Foreign relations Iran.; Diplomatic relations.; United States.; HISTORY General.; Iran Foreign relations United States.; Political leadership Iran.; Military policy.; Political culture.; Islam and politics Iran.
Alternative Title: Exploration of Iranian leadership dynamics
Series Title: Rand Corporation monograph series.
Local note: JSTOR Books at JSTOR Open Access


  1. Introduction : leadership dynamics in the Islamic Republic of Iran
  2. Assertiveness and caution in Iranian strategic culture
  3. Formal structures of the Islamic Republic
  4. Factionalism and the primacy of informal networks
  5. The nexus of domestic politics and policymaking in Iran
  6. Conclusion : power and politics in the Islamic Republic.