Interest Articulation and Interest Aggregation in Iran
Interest Articulation and Interest Aggregation in Iran
Iran, also known as The Islamic Republic of Iran and historical known as Persia, is a country located in Asia’s western part (Tabaar, 2018). The country’s total geographical coverage is estimated to be around 1.6 million kilometres squared and a population of approximately 83 million. The capital city is Tehran and Iran happens to be the biggest country in the Middle East countries. The leadership in Iran has been authoritative, limiting the citizens their civil, human and political rights. A country where the governed are allowed to practice their democratic rights is likely to do well in both interest articulation and interest aggregation. In this essay, the state of interest articulation and interest aggregation and the factors affecting them in Iran will be discussed.
Interest articulation is how the citizens of a country express their grievances to the governing body. The participation can be having personal contact with government leaders to form interest groups where the government officials act as per the interest of the groups they represent. An example of this interest group is professional associations. Interest articulation has different ways to affect the government and can be associated with either legal activities like peaceful demonstrations or illegal activities like assassinations. It is through interest articulation where a country achieves interest aggregation.
Iran is one of the world’s leading countries where there is no freedom of the press (Semati, M. (2017). According to the press freedom index of the year 2018, Iran was at the 168th position in 180 countries ranked. The government department in Iran responsible for communications and information is the Ministry Of Culture And Islamic Guidance. When a country has limited access to media, it is nearly impossible for them to express their needs to the government, thus limiting interest aggregation.
In Iran, television was introduced in 1958, and the only media corporation has been given the freedom to information and communication while any domestic media body was restricted after the revolution. Despite the restrictions, over half of Iran’s population has access to worldwide media corporations through satellites. The use of the internet has widely spread in Iran and Google search is the leading search engine, and Instagram is the most used social application. Other social applications like Twitter and Facebook remain restricted for use by Iran’s citizens because they have been used to form groups to oppose the government.
The citizens of Iran are given the power to elect their leaders, and the electoral system is majoritarian, where the one with the most votes is declared the leader. According to Election Guide an election news platform, Iran’s voter turnout has consistently been above average of the total registered voters despite the year 2008 where the voter turnout was 49%. The head of government, the legislature and the assembly of experts in Iran are elected at a national level. The citizens are allowed to select the head of government, while the assembly of experts is responsible for voting in the supreme leader.
In Iran, there are no major interest groups because of the authoritative governance. Interest groups are formed to influence public policies in their favour. These interest groups are characterized by showing the desire to control government policies for their members’ benefit. Interest groups’ existence is essential for every country because they advocate for various segments in the society like government subsidies. Through these interest groups, citizens express their needs; thus, the interest group puts pressure on policymakers, thus gaining positive policy outcomes.
Iran achieving interest articulation remains a significant challenge to the country. Unless the authoritarian type of leadership changes, the country’s citizens will remain under the governing body’s control. Because of this kind of leadership, Iran has faced several sanctions from many countries of the world. The sanctions have affected the economy of the country, making it hard for the citizens of Iran. The government should allow citizens to have freedom of expression and freely practice their democratic rights. Civil society in Iran is existent, but it remains under pressure because of the government’s various restrictions. Civil society ranges from non-governmental organizations to independent labour unions to women rights to environmental rights organizations. The civil society in Iran has highly developed because of the reform movement, making it vital in being about change than other counterparts in the Middle East. Experts have given an estimate of between five thousand to eight thousand non-governmental organizations present in Iran. Social capital is achieved when various groups come together to work towards set objectives. Social money in Iraq remains paralyzed because of the ignorant leaders. Interest aggregation can be explained as the process where the interests of various individuals and groups are implemented in policy programs. Below are the factors that influence interest aggregation.
Based on Reuters’ report, a news agency in February 2018, Iran had over 250 registered political parties, meaning that the political party system in Iran is a multi-party system (Harris, 2017). The political party system of Iran is considered authoritarian. An authoritarian administration can be explained as a type of leadership where the body in charge has total control over whom they govern. In this kind of leadership, the governing body pays more attention to people obeying laws than people having freedom of expression.
The citizens of Iran have no freedom to participate in the country’s political affairs, which is limited interest aggregation and interest articulation in Iran. The authoritarian leadership in Iran has received many critics from all over the globe because of abusing civil liberty and human rights. The leadership in this country has been characterized by limiting children and women’s rights, suppressing mass protests and unfair elections. The voting age was from 15years until 2007, when the age was raised to 18 years. The election system is majority based where the one with the leading votes leads. Patron –client relationship is a structure where an authoritative figure gives benefits to their supporters for being loyal to the group (Ladwig, 2017). When people form a group, they usually have specific goals that they want to achieve, which makes the patron-client relationship important. Since most patron-client organizations impact the formation of government policies, this relationship needs to end.
Iran has two military forces, including the national military and the Islamic revolutionary guard corps. The national militia is responsible for ensuring peace and protecting the borders, while the Islamic revolutionary militia is responsible for protecting the revolution and its achievements. Patron-client networks in Iran are very high, making it hard to unify political resources to solve any crisis because of the different political structures formed. The formation of many political structures makes it hard to achieve interest aggregation. The interest aggregation in Iran remains crippled, and this calls for improvements. The political culture of Iran has to change from being authoritative to being democratic. A country that is democratic is likely to be more unified than one that the leaders dictate on what is to be done. A country that respects democracy will work by the will of the people they govern hence no violation of human rights. The formation of many political structures in Iran makes it had to achieve interest aggregation because the different political systems bring about division in the country.
Harris, K. (2017). A social revolution: Politics and the welfare state in Iran. Univ of California Press.
Ladwig, W. C. (2017). The forgotten front: Patron-client relationships in counter insurgency. Cambridge University Press.
Semati, M. (2017). Iran, media and the discourse of human rights. The Routledge companion to media and human rights, 158.
Tabaar, M. A. (2018). Religious statecraft: The politics of Islam in Iran. Columbia University Press.