The Political Ideology of Ayatollah Khamenei: Out of the Mouth of the Supreme Leader of Iran, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Political Ideology of Ayatollah Khamenei

Out of the Mouth of the Supreme Leader of Iran, 1st Edition

By Yvette Hovsepian-Bearce


382 pages | 3 B/W Illus.

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Ayatollah ʿAli Hosseini Khamenei, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, is one of the most controversial and influential Muslim leaders in the world today. As Iran’s main decision-maker, his theocratic ideology and decisions carry global consequences.

The Political Ideology of Ayatollah Khamenei is the first book to identify and analyze the development and evolution of the theocratic ideology of the Supreme Leader from 1962 to 2014, using his own writings, speeches, and biographies, as well as literature published in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This work provides new insights into Khamenei’s political thought and behavior and their impact on Iran’s domestic, regional, and international policies. Correlating the development of Khamenei’s personality, character, and political behavior with Iran’s internal and external challenges, this study explores key issues of the Middle East region, in particular Iran’s political posture toward Israel, the United States, and the Muslim world, and the diplomatic crises unfolding over Iran’s nuclear development program. This work provides a comprehensive chronological and thematic survey of Khamenei’s life.

This book will be of interest to students, scholars, researchers, diplomats, and policymakers focusing on Middle Eastern politics, Iranian affairs, Islamic studies, and international relations; and could serve as an essential resource for those striving to understand Iran’s policies toward Israel, the United States, and the Muslim world, as shaped by its supreme autocrat.


[…] The Political Ideology of Ayatollah Khamenei, by Dr. Yvette Hovsepian-Bearce, reconstructs Ayatollah Khamenei's thought pattern on reaching this agreement which has major geopolitical implications.It is certainly critical for Americans to understand [Khamenei’s] vision regarding Iran's destiny as a revolutionary Islamic state and a beacon to the Muslim world. […] This is the first book to explore the underlying coherence of the ideological vision guiding the Supreme Leader’s exercise of ultimate power, and the first to present Khamenei’s political and religious worldview based on his speeches and writings. The author helps the reader to understand the critical choices Iran’s leadership is likely to face upon Khamenei’s passing. [and] carefully outlines the Supreme Leader's vision for Iran, the Muslim world, and the global community.

- Harut Sassounian, The California Courier

"Middle East scholar Yvette Hovsepian-Bearce provides a comprehensive evaluation of the theocratic ideology of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran as it pertains to Iran's role as a world power and global influencer. By utilizing her translations of Ayatollah Khamenei's own speeches, writings and biographic materials, as well as additional literature published in the Islamic Republic of Iran, she offers students, politicians, researchers, policy-makers, and world leaders an opportunity to fully grasp Khamenei's personality, Islamic faith-based motivation, and global political agenda in a nuanced text that will prove illuminating to its readers."

- Laura Taylor, Author and Editor, and Southern California Writers Conference, and Novelists, Inc.

Table of Contents

PART I: HISTORICAL BACKGROUND: THE EARLY YEARS CHAPTER 1: The Rise of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini: The Islamic Revolution and the Establishment of the Islamic Republic of IranCHAPTER 2:The Political Journey of ʿAli Hosseini Khamenei During the Iranian Revolution, 1962–1979CHAPTER 3:The Political Leadership of Ayatollah Khamenei After the Victory of the Islamic Revolution CHAPTER 4:President Khamenei, 1981–1989CHAPTER 5:Khamenei’s Succession to Supreme Leadership PART II: SUPREME LEADER KHAMENEI, 1989–2014 CHAPTER 6: Khamenei: The LeaderCHAPTER 7: Khamenei: The PersonCHAPTER 8: The Struggle Over Reconstruction of Iran After Khomieni: President Hashemi Rafsanjani, 1989–1997CHAPTER 9: The Iranian Reform Era and the Debate Over Foreign Policy: President Mohammad Khatami, 1997–2005CHAPTER 10: Tehran Spring and the Debate Over the Freedom of the Press: President Mohammad KhatamiCHAPTER 11: Iran’s Nuclear Era: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, 2005–2013CHAPTER 12: The Era of Diplomacy: President Hassan Rouhani, 2013–2014 PART III: CENTRAL THEMES IN AYATOLLAH KHAMENEI’S IDEOLOGY CHAPTER 13: AmericaCHAPTER 14: Muslim UnityCHAPTER 15: FreedomCHAPTER 16: Religious DemocracyCHAPTER 17: Iranian YouthCONCLUSION

About the Author

Yvette Hovsepian-Bearce is a Middle East scholar and researcher specializing in the role of Iran in contemporary world politics, and is a fellow at the Center for the Middle East Development at the University of California, Los Angeles. She earned a B.A. in Business, a Masters in Theology, and Ph.D. in Islamic Studies. Using her linguistic expertise in several Middle Eastern and European languages, she provides consulting services to various state and federal judiciaries.

About the Series

UCLA Center for Middle East Development (CMED) series

The UCLA Center for Middle East Development (CMED) series on Middle East security and cooperation features new and original scholarship on many of the most critical issues facing the region. Each book presents a variety of perspectives on a specific topic, such as democracy in the Middle East, dynamics of Israeli-Palestinian relations, Gulf security, and the gender factor in the Middle East. Aside from covering the key issues facing the region, the series also features a number of sub-themes under a single heading, covering security, social, political, and economic factors affecting the Middle East. All books feature a multinational collection of authors who, for political reasons, do not always publish in the same volume or collection, so no matter what the issue, specialists from within and beyond the region offer a broad range of different viewpoints.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies