Parliamentary Politics and Iran-US Relations During the Cold War

Tomoyo Chisaka
Thu June 1st 2023, 12:00 - 1:30pm
Event Sponsor
Hamid and Christina Moghadam Program in Iranian Studies
Hoover Institution Library & Archives
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Join us for the second Zahedi Family Fellow lecture by the spring 2023 Zahedi Fellow, Dr. Tomoyo Chisaka. 

Influential literature on Iran-US relations has assessed economic and security issues as having profound impacts on the rise and fall of Mohammad Reza Shah. However, relatively little attention has been paid to the ways that Iran's domestic institutions, particularly parliamentary politics, influenced the nature of bilateral relations. Findings from the Ardeshir Zahedi papers housed in Hoover Library and Archives and the US National Security Archives indicate that even though the Shah and the US were close allies, parliamentary elections provided a space for the US to contact “moderate” opposition who tried to challenge the Shah’s dictatorship by participating in electoral politics. This communication was facilitated by US concerns about fighting communism within the context of the Cold War, in part because Iran’s opposition knew that only US advocacy would encourage the Shah to co-opt them in parliament in an otherwise illiberal authoritarian environment. A closer look at parliamentary elections in Iran during the Shah’s regime offers important insights into the ways that domestic politics interacted with Iran-US relations, with implications for Iran’s political development.

Dr. Tomoyo Chisaka joined the Iranian Studies Program as the second Zahedi Family Fellow in spring of 2023. Dr. Chisaka is a JSPS postdoctoral fellow at the University of Tokyo, Japan. She is a visiting scholar at the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies at Stanford University during the 2022-2023 academic year. Her dissertation examined parliamentary election management in post-revolutionary Iran. Focusing on the legal functions of the Ministry of Interior and the Guardian Council, the dissertation considered when and how Iran’s Supreme Leader delegates autonomy to the executive headed by the President as related to the management of parliamentary elections.

If you need a disability-related accommodation for this event, please contact us at iranianstudies [at] (iranianstudies[at]stanford[dot]edu).  Requests should be made by May 23, 2023.