Misagh Parsa

Sociology professor weighs in on Iranian protests

"Tehran's Own Worst Enemy" (Wall Street Journal)

 “This fine book shreds the dominant narratives about the Islamic Republic as Parsa analyzes the titanic struggle under way in Iran between theocracy and democracy. Along the way, the author shows why gradual reform—the leitmotif for Western supporters of ‘pragmatic’ Iranian president Hassan Rouhani and of the Obama administration’s nuclear deal—is unlikely. Parsa digs deep into Persian primary material often ignored in Washington policy discussions, intelligence analysis and journalism. He also mines data from other authoritarian countries to compare and contrast those that have transformed peacefully with those that have changed more violently but still democratically (Indonesia) or erupted and returned to dictatorship (Egypt).

Sociology Professor Gives View on Iran's Politics (Valley News)

Misagh Parsa, a professor of sociology at Dartmouth College, outlined the roots of a deep discord between the Iranian people and their Islamist government and pointed to possible outcomes during a recent talk at the Haldeman Center. The discussion came within days of a convincing victory from Hassan Rouhani, a moderate reformer, in the country’s presidential election and also coincides with the publication of Parsa’s latest book, Democracy in Iran: Why It Failed and How It Might Succeed.  Read the full story here.

Sociology Professor is Quoted in the Los Angeles Times

Iranian voters delivered a decisive reelection victory to President Hassan Rouhani, endorsing his efforts to engage with the West and find a peaceful path out of diplomatic isolation.  Sociology Professor Misagh Parsa offers his insights on this development in an article in the Los Angeles Times, which can be read here.

Sociology Professor's Book is Praised by the "Times Literary Supplement"

In the May 12, 2017 edition (Politics section) of the "Times Literary Supplement," Anthony Forbes reviews six recently published books which assess the different cultural, political, military, social and economic paths along which Iran and its enemies have travelled to arrive at the current state of affairs.

He says: "Misagh Parsa's brilliantly argued Democracy in Iran posits a new revolutionary future for the country, suggesting that as the gap between ruler and ruled widens, and as the different sides in Iran's political spectrum become ever more entrenched, the prospect--or necessity--of dramatic upheaval becomes ever more real.  As the author concludes, 'The failure of the Islamic Republic to fulfill the revolution's promises, the imposition of social and cultural restrictions, and the denial of political rights and civil liberties has set the stage for contentious politics in Iran.'"

In addtion, Forbes writes: "One of the strongest aspects of Parsa's Democracy in Iran is the dispassionate presentation and analysis of the facts that support....The tone of his work is scholarly and clear...."

"Democracy in Iran--Why It Failed and How It Might Succeed"

Misagh Parsa's new book, Democracy in Iran--Why It Failed and How It Might Succeed, deals with the difficulties of democratizing the Islamic Republic.  It draws on primary materials--interviews, newspapers, and recent memoirs--and offers a new framework for understanding democratization in developing countries governed by authoritarian regimes. (Ervand Abrahamian, CUNY) More details about the book can be seen here at the publisher's website. 

Below is a review by Ray Takeyh (Council of Foreign Relations) in the current issue of the journal Survival.

"Misagh Parsa’s account of Iran is one of the most important books published about the Islamic Republic since its inception. Parsa’s mastery of an impressive range of sources, his elegant writing style and his intellectual honesty set his account apart from the legion of other books published on the theocratic state. His conclusions are as stark as they are important: the Islamic Republic cannot reform itself, and its path to genuine democratisation can only come through an actual revolution.

"Iranian Leaders Continue to Use Enemies Abroad to Rally Nation" (Time.com)

Misagh Parsa, Professor of Sociology, explains that the rulers of the Islamic Republic of Iran have routinely used external conflicts to divert public attention from domestic problems, deflect attacks, promote national cohesion, and repress their opponents. Read the full story.