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33 Harv. Int'l. L. J. 145 (1992)
Khomeinism, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and International Law: The Relevance of Islamic Political Ideology

handle is hein.journals/hilj33 and id is 151 raw text is: VOLUME 33, NUMBER I, WINTER 1992

Khomeinism, The Islamic Republic of
Iran, and International Law:
The Relevance of Islamic Political Ideology
Sarvenaz Bahar*
Since the Iranian Revolution of 1979, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's
political ideology has become firmly rooted in the Islamic Republic
of Iran as a system of governance based on the guardianship of the
theologian jurisconsult and on the application of Islamic law. While
appearing in the old garbs of Islam, the language and values of
Khomeinism are vested with a relevance, content and significance
aimed at the world community of the twentieth century. A recon-
structed past is never the same as the past as it was; nor is it an
affirmation of the present as it is. Islamic culture, religion and political
ideology have come to engage in an uneasy interplay with the pre-
vailing world order. The intersection of these elements with interna-
tional law, however, remains to be explored: What is the relevance of
Khomeinism, as the most significant and enduring manifestation of
Islamic political ideology associated with the resurgence of Islam in
this century, to the making and application of international law?
This study traces the legal process of political decision-making in
an Islamic model of government as developed by Khomeini and
adopted by the Islamic Republic of Iran: who makes decisions, with
what authority, with what procedures, and by what criteria. This
decision-making process determines the domestic and foreign policy
of Iran, and is responsible for fashioning Iran's interaction with the
international community. Significant disparities exist between ideol-
ogy and practice in the domestic arena, and these disparities are
aggravated in the international context where the pressures of con-
formity are far more intense. Only in passing beyond the veil of
Islamic rhetoric, and more particularly Khomeini's rhetoric, and ap-
preciating the myriad historical, political, social, and religious factors
surrounding the resurgence of Islam, can one understand the primary
motivations, interests, and values underlying Iran's conduct.
* Clerk for Chief Judge Barefoot Sanders, Federal District Court, Northern District of Texas,
Dallas; J.D. Yale Law School 1991.

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