The Revolution replaced the old political elite, which had consisted
of the Pahlavi family, wealthy families of the former Qajar dynasty,
and wealthy industrialists and financiers, with a new political
elite of Shia clergy and lay politicians of middle and lower middle
class origin. The roots of most members of this new elite lay
in the bazaar middle class (see Urban Society , ch. 2). Thus,
the values of the new elite and the attitudes they professed were
the ones most esteemed by the bazaar: respect for entrepreneurial
skill, distrust of capitalist methods, and religious conservatism.
Since the Revolution, they have striven to create a political
order that incorporates their shared vision of an ideal society
based upon Islamic principles.
Although the new political elite has been relatively united as
to the overall goals envisaged for the Islamic Republic, its members
have been deeply divided over various political, social, and economic
policies deemed appropriate for achieving long-term objectives.
These divisions have been manifested in political developments
and struggles in the years since 1979. This period has been characterized
by four phases, each dominated by distinct political issues. The
first phase coincided with the provisional government of Prime
Minister Bazargan, from February to November 1979. The next phase,
which lasted until June 1981, was marked by the political rise
and fall of Bani Sadr. During the third phase, which ended in
December 1982, the government survived a major armed insurrection.
During the next phase, which began in 1983, the political elite
has been involved in the process of consolidating the theocratic
regime, and that process was continuing in late 1987.
Data as of December 1987