Bloomberg Businessweek

Iran’s Islamic Evolution

• Both conservatives and reformists consider the ballot box an essential instrument

• “There may be two candidates, but they are part of the system”

Maryam was 22 days old when Iranians dethroned their king in 1979. The Islamic regime that followed—with its black and brown robes, covered heads, and dour religiosity—was “just a fact” of life, she says. “We never thought about anything different, because we hadn’t seen anything else.” Thirty-eight years later, that acceptance is wearing thin.

The May 19 presidential vote—and the jubilant street celebrations that followed the reelection of President Hassan Rouhani, the nearest thing to a liberal allowed onto the ballot—showed an Iranian society much changed since the days of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s Islamic revolution and unwilling to turn back. “One of my

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