State religion in Iran: Who were the authorized interlocutors in legal matters?

22. September 2017

A new paper in our SSRN series attempts to identify the authorized interlocutors in legal matters under Twelver Shīʽism, the state religion in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Without a doubt, this is a difficult question and an under-researched topic in Western legal and security-policy studies. Katariina Simonen, from the University of Helsinki, takes up this task. In a short, well-written article, she leads the reader from the early Islamic community and the question of succession in the 7th century to the development and the key legal concepts of the Ușūlī and Akhbārī schools of jurisprudence (the former of which was the more dominant in the late 18th/early 19th centuries) to the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and the emergence of the guardian jurist (Supreme Leader) as a further authority. An English translation of the most important Arabic terms is provided.

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